Blasting through the past with the Rankin Brothers is a “blast!”

Matt, left, and Mark Rankin during their inspirational performance of  "The Amnchor Holds

Matt, left, and Mark Rankin during their inspirational performance of “The Anchor Holds.”

I spent the evening of Oct. 30 “blasting through the past” at the Rankin Brothers show and, excuse the pun, had a “blast” and from the opening note of the Bob Seger hit, “Old Time Rock N Roll” to the last note of Chuck Berry’s 1958 classic, “Johnny B. Goode,” what a blast it was! Over 40 numbers from the 50′s through the 90′s, each impeccably performed and rekindling memories of some of the greatest moments in music history, presented in that special personable Rankin Brothers style.

The stars of the show are the brothers Mark and Matt Rankin, who have been performing the music they love together since they were kids. You sense their love of the music, respect for the artists who performed it and their affection for each other and their family which combines to make a special entertainment experience even more so. Joining Matt and Mark on the stage is Lori Kelley – vocalist; Paul Stephans – base, harmonica & vocals; Cody Titus – music director, keys & vocals; Josh Breedlove – drums; Jim Murphy – sax, keys & vocals and Mitch Kiersey – lead guitar, mandolin & vocals.

Time really flies by as they perform hit after hit in a manner that resonates with those who actually grew up listening to them as well as a new generation who might be hearing them for the first time. The talent of the vocalists and instrumentalists in the show, coupled with the variety of ways each different number is presented results in a wonderful entertainment experience.

"Sonnie and Cher," Mark and Lori, performing "I Got You Babe."

“Sonnie and Cher,” Mark and Lori, performing “I Got You Babe.”

One example is the classic Sonny and Cher hit, “I Got You Babe,” performed by Mark and Lori. The musical performance and costuming was spot on, but their interaction and Sonny’s hairpiece added a special dimension to the performance that had the audience in stiches. Another, entirely different example, was the John Denver classic “Annie’s Song” which was simply and eloquently sung by Mark with Mitch Kiersey featured on the mandolin; what a special moment.

It should be pointed out that although they are performing classic hits in the style, and in some cases, similar costuming to that worn by the performers who made the songs being sung famous, this is not a “recreation” show like the Legends in Concert. It is more a “Review” of the classic hits being performed and of the artists who performed them, done in that unique Rankin style. That said, I must confess that there were a number of times during the show where I could swear I was hearing and seeing the same performers who originally made the song(s) being sung famous. Matt’s Buddy Holly set of “That’ll Be The Day, Rave On and “Not Fade Away” was one of those times.

Lori Kelley, the shows female vocalist, displayed her considerable vocal talent throughout the show doing a great job on numbers such as the Petula Clark classic “Downtown,” the Connie Francis hit “Stupid Cupid,” and others as well singing backup vocals. I just loved her performance with Mark as Cher and her performance of the Anne Murray hit “Could I Have This Dance” which was simply beautiful and touched my heart.

Lori Kelley performing "Stupid Cupid."

Lori Kelley performing “Stupid Cupid.”

In every Rankin Brothers show I have seen performed, and there have been a number of them over the years, they perform the song “The Anchor Holds,” which was originally written by Lawrence Chewning and, with his permission, reworked and recorded by Ray Boltz. It is a one of kind performance of a one of a kind song that was as inspirational as it was beautifully sung.

The performance that I saw was the last of their regular season show as they, like most Branson shows, started performing their Christmas show on Nov. 1. The good news is that the format of their Christmas show is to perform some of the audience’s favorite numbers from their regular season show in the first half and Christmas music in the second half. The Christmas portion will contain “Blue Christmas,” “Mary did you Know,” “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” “White Christmas” and many more. What a dynamite show that should be.

I can think of no better way to end this review than to reiterate that “one does not just ‘see’ the Rankin Brothers Show they experience it and what a wonderful experience it is. It will bring back memories to those who actually heard the music in real time and create new memories for a generation that was not even born when this timeless music was first performed.”

For additional information on the Rankin Brothers show or for information or tickets for any of Branson’s shows and attractions or for lodging arrangements please contact the Branson Tourism Center, one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services by calling 1-800-785-1550 or through its website,


Material Connection

One two punch provides biggest week of Branson season

Veterans Homecoming Week. America's biggest Veterans Day celebration.

Veterans Homecoming Week. America’s biggest Veterans Day celebration.

“I can safely say that, although every week in Branson is full of excitement, entertainment, natural beauty, shopping and dozens of things to see and do, it is extremely unlikely that any other week compares with the one two punch of what happens during the week of Nov. 5 through Nov. 11 each year,” said Annette Wood, the Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center “The combination of Branson Veterans Homecoming Week with the first full week of Branson’s Ozark Mountain Christmas provide visitors with a unique opportunity to experience the heart and spirit Branson has for Veterans and the traditional American Christmas blended together in a manner that enhances the great live entertainment, attractions, shopping and the dozens of other activities that makes Branson such a great place to visit,” she added.

“Although Veterans are honored every day in Branson, Branson’s Veterans Homecoming Week is a special time, dedicated to honoring Veterans, active duty Armed Forces personnel and their families throughout the community,” Wood said. The week long celebration runs from November 5 through November 11 of each year, is America’s biggest ‘Veterans Day’ tribute and features dozens of events dedicated to remembering, thanking and honoring those who have given so much for our Country. One of the major events will be, one of America’s longest running Veterans Day parades, the 81st “Branson Veterans Day Parade,” through historic downtown Branson starting at the 11th Hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.


Some of the over 5 million Christmas Lights at Silver Dollar City's Old Time Christmas.

Some of the over 5 million Christmas Lights at Silver Dollar City’s Old Time Christmas.

Ozark Mountain Christmas is the annual Branson wide celebration of the traditional “American Christmas,” with literally millions of Christmas lights, many colorfully decorated businesses and the true spirit of Christmas “honored” throughout the area. The center point of Ozark Mountain Christmas is Silver Dollar City’s An Old Time Christmas Festival. With over 5 million Christmas lights, the festival has been recognized nationally by “Yahoo Travel’s Top 10 Destinations for Holiday Lights,” “MSN’s Top 10 Extreme Holiday Lights” and will premiere a new light parade the “Holly Jolly Christmas Light Parade” featuring “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer & Friends” this year.”

In addition to the Christmas lights on utility poles, many Branson businesses, including Branson Landing, with its large Christmas Tree, and other decorations, there are two drive through Christmas light displays, Branson Area Festival of Lights and the Shepherd of the Hills Trail of Lights filled with millions of colorful sparkling Christmas lights and beautiful Christmas displays.

As would be expected in a town noted for the quantity and quality of its live shows, a major component of Ozark Mountain Christmas are the Christmas Shows presented by most Branson shows. For many, the week of Nov. 5 – 11 is the first full week of these shows. In the majority, the Christmas shows are a blend of the best from their regular season show and Christmas which is generally performed during the second half of the show with each show celebrating Christmas in their own special way. Other shows such as the Andy Williams Christmas Show,” Christmas on the Trail or Christmas Wonderland and Christmas with the Hughes Brothers are totally Christmas shows.

Wood points out that although Veterans Home Coming will end on Nov. 11 the synergy and impetus of the week, coupled with the continued celebration of Ozark Mountain Christmas until Dec. 31, and everything else Branson offers makes Branson a wonderful place for families to start the celebration of their Christmas in a very special and memorable way.

Major route changes for 81st Branson Veterans Day Parade

Map of new route for the 2014  Branson Veterans Day Parade.

Map of new route for the 2014 Branson Veterans Day Parade.

“Although it’s a different route this year because of the Downtown Streetscape project in historic downtown Branson, a longstanding patriotic tradition will continue uninterrupted, when on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the ’81st Branson Veterans Day Parade starts,’” said Annette Wood, the Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. She points out that the new parade route will be moving in a counter clock-wise direction starting and ending at the south parking lot of the Branson Convention Center.

It will exit the convention center parking lot and turn south on Sycamore Street to intersection with Long Street where it will turn east, cross the railroad tracks and turn north onto Branson Landing Boulevard. The parade continues north on Branson Landing Boulevard, the entire length of Branson Landing, to the intersection of Commercial Street where it will turn onto Commercial Street. At the intersection of Commercial and Atlantic Streets it turns east for one block where it turns south on Sycamore Street to the south convention center parking lot where the parade ends near where it began.

Wood points out that traffic along the immediate parade route will be impacted from at least 9:00 a.m. until about 3:00 p.m. for set up, the parade and cleanup. She suggest allowing extra time to find parking and get a good spot to watch the parade. It should be pointed out that most of the better viewing areas, although on level ground themselves, are located “downhill” from the long and fairly level viewing area that was available on Commercial Street for past parades. One “level” combination would be to park in either the Bass Pro or Belk parking lot at Branson Landing and view the parade from Branson Landing Boulevard. It might involve a little walking, but it will, for the most part, be level.

Wood points out that the parade is just one of many special events and activities during America’s biggest Veterans Day tribute, “Branson Veterans Homecoming Week”, an annual event running from Nov. 5 through Nov. 11 that honors America’s Veterans, active duty personal and their families. Click here for a schedule of most major events and more information.

Two times six for SIX

SIX performing during their dynamite opening set!

SIX performing during their dynamite opening set!

In a “review” of the Branson show SIX I wrote in May of this year I said, “As many times as I have seen this amazing show…I find myself looking for the band that is not there. This, even though I know that every sound I hear comes from the six human voices of siblings, Barry, Kevin, Owen, Lynn, Curtis and Jak Knudsen who make up the entire cast of one of Branson’s hottest shows, SIX.

“If you have never seen the show it’s hard to describe because it’s much more than a vocal band. It is a total entertainment experience consisting of great vocals covering a wide variety of music performed by an amazing vocal “band” consisting of the same performers singing the vocals and doing the comedy. Their energy, familial harmonies and humor, coupled with the vocal band aspect of their show results in an awesome entertainment experience that is certainly unique in Branson if not in all the world.”

On the afternoon of Oct. 21, I went back to SIX and took some pictures to use on Branson Tourism Center’s social media sites. When we posted the picture, the same one illustrating this piece, on Facebook, the unsolicited responses from people who have seen the show provided a personal and unique perspective on SIX. As the title indicates, we picked 12 comments that we hope you will find interesting:

Ted Dede – Caught their show Sept. 10th during a live taping. They are just fabulous; didn’t have any idea that kind of sound could come out of a human’s mouth. Just amazing. Will for sure see them again.

David W. Moffitt – Always a great choice. We go again & again.

Louise Hanson – They can do it all they are fabulous. THE VERY BEST LOVE THEM

Ronald Patton – Love these guys.

Bobbie Chambers Strong – Went to see them and what a fantastic show!!! Will go back to see them again!!

John Kutys – I saw them a while ago on a vacation to Branson. Loved their performance.

Gina Obert – Six are the best vocals in Branson!!! We have seen their show multiple times!!!!!

Sherry Fiscus Brown – They r great!! Hope to come again in a few weeks…

Patricia Sterrett – Love you guys!

Ron N Barb Meyer – We’re looking forward to seeing them soon!

Debra Diane Sibley – Randall Love these guys.

Janet Blattel Verhines – This is a great show!!! Loved watching them in Branson!! Highly recommend them!!!

Click here to go to the actual post.

Please feel free to contact the Branson Tourism Center, one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services by calling 1-800-785-1550 or through its website,, for additional information or tickets for SIX.


Traveling Vietnam Veterans Memorial on display at Welk Resort

"Comrades In Arms" paying their respects.

“Comrades In Arms” paying their respects.

“For the 18th consecutive year, the ‘Traveling Vietnam Veterans Memorial’ (Memorial) will be on display at the Welk Resort in Branson during Branson Veterans Home Coming Week” said Chris Cathcart, the Marketing Manager for the Welk Resort. “It has always been our privilege to honor our Veterans, active duty military personnel and their families who have sacrificed so much for us. Our long standing tradition of displaying the Memorial in Branson during ‘Branson Veterans Home Coming Week’ is one the ways we do that and say, ‘Thank you for your service,’” he added.

Cathcart went on to explain that when the organization from whom they had been renting the Memorial decided they wanted to sell it last year, the Welk Resort purchased it so that their tradition of displaying the Memorial in Branson and honoring those it represents would be insured for future years to come. It will be displayed at the resort on special patriotic occasions such as such as “Branson Veterans Home Coming Week.”

It is over 260 feet long, six feet tall and one half the size of the “Vietnam Veterans Memorial” on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. It has the names over 58,000 servicemen who were either confirmed as Killed In Action (KIA) or were classified as Missing In Action (MIA) listed in chronological order. Although the names are listed on the Memorial in the chronological order of being declared KIA or MIA, a special locator book, sorting the names alphabetically by last name, will help visitors find a particular name on the Memorial.

The Memorial will be on display at the Welk Resort from Nov. 5 through Nov. 11 during the hours of 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. The public is invited and encouraged to attend the official Opening Ceremony at the Welk Resort at 10:00 a.m. on Nov. 5.

Local volunteers will be reading the names inscribed on the Memorial out loud during the hours it is being displayed. Cathcart said that anyone desiring to volunteer to be a reader for a 30 minute period should call Jacque Cheary at 417-243-1202.

The display of the Memorial is just one of dozens of events honoring America’s Veterans, active duty personal and their families during America’s biggest ‘Veterans Day tribute, “Branson Veterans Homecoming Week”, an annual event running from Nov. 5 through Nov. 11 and featuring one of America’s longest running Veterans parades, the 81st “Branson Veterans Day Parade,” through historic downtown Branson starting at the 11th Hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. Click here for a schedule of most major events and more information.

Before “Branson” or the “Baldknobbers” there was the “Bald Knobbers”


Scene from the "Shepherd of the Hills Outdoor Drama" with the  Bald Knobbers burning cabin. Notice the outline of their distinctive masks.

Scene from the “Shepherd of the Hills Outdoor Drama” with the Bald Knobbers burning a cabin. Notice the outline of their distinctive masks.

Almost everyone coming to Branson either knows or quickly finds out, that the “Baldknobbers” was Branson’s first show, “the show that started it all.” Yet long before there was a Baldknobbers Jamboree or the city of Branson was incorporated on April 1, 1912, the “Bald Knobbers” had already become infused into the history and legend of the Ozarks and the area that has become one of the most popular family tourist destinations in America, Branson, Missouri.

As often happens, something good ended up going horribly wrong. In 1883 a group of men, led by Nathaniel Kinney formed a group to protect Taney County citizens against the actions of the “outlaws” who had come into the area. They got their name, “Bald Knobbers” because they met on the bald area on top of one of the areas mountains and were known for the distinctive masks they wore. They accomplished their initial objective and as a result, gained a lot of, what these days we call “political power”. Unfortunately, along with that power, they became a law unto themselves even to the point where Kinney shot one of the “anti-Bald Knobber” leaders in “cold blood” and it was deemed “self-defense.”

Their vigilante tactics lost them public support and the original Taney County Bald Knobbers were dissolved under the supervision of the Missouri Governor’s office. Ironically, even though the Bald Knobbers he started had been disbanded, Kinney himself was assassinated by an assassin hired by an “anti Bald Knobber” group and his assassin was acquitted on the grounds of self-defense.

All this might have been a little noted spot in history, but for Harold Bell Wright’s landmark novel “Shepherd of the Hills” which was published in 1907 and featured the Bald Knobbers as the villains. It could be said that book and the tourists it brought to the Branson area to see the areas mentioned in the book were the initial “sparks” of tourism for the Branson area that over the years, has evolved into the Branson of today, with all it has to offer.

In 1959, Harold Bell Wright’s novel was brought to life in an inspirational and spectacular fashion in the Shepherd of Hills Outdoor Drama, conducted on the very land where Wright wrote his novel. This action filled, inspirational drama has a cast of almost 100; is performed on an outdoor stage that is almost the size of a football field; has galloping horses, a buckboard, and the “Bald Knobbers” actually burning a cabin every night and will complete its 55th season with its Oct. 25, 2014 performance.

Original  Baldknobbers case Bill-Mabe-Bob-Mabe-Delbert-Howard,-left-to-right-back-and-front-left-Jim-Mabe-Lyle-Mabe-Chick-Allen.

Original Baldknobbers cast –  Bill-Mabe-Bob-Mabe-Delbert-Howard,-left-to-right-back-and-front-left-Jim-Mabe-Lyle-Mabe-Chick-Allen.

In 1960, the Mabe family decided to start a show to provide evening entertainment for the tourists who were coming to the Branson area as a result of a new theme park that had just opened, Silver Dollar City, and the completion of Table Rock Dam with its resulting 43,000 plus square acre Table Rock Lake. Bob Mabe, one of the original members of the group said that he came up with the name “Baldknobbers” and that it “was chosen from the book.” Anecdotally, he said, “I wished afterwards that I had said the “Mabe Brothers” instead because of the four of us brothers [Bill, Bob, Jim and Lyle].”

The Baldknobbers Jamboree has been continuously entertaining audiences ever since and is acknowledged as Branson’s first show, but before there was a “Shepherd of the Hills,” novel, a “Branson” or a “Baldknobbers Jamboree” there was the “Bald Knobbers.”


BTC Preferred Event presents a unique opportunity for Neal McCoy Fans

Country music legend Neal McCoy.

Country music legend Neal McCoy.

“Attending the Neal McCoy show is two hours of nonstop fun, entertainment, humor and music presented by one of the most personable and talented entertainers around,” said Annette Wood, the Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center (BTC). “Although it’s hard to imagine how attending his show could be any more of an entertainment experience, some of those who are attending the Neal McCoy show on Nov. 13, and have purchased their tickets through the Branson Tourism Center, will have an exclusive opportunity to enhance that experience by meeting with Neal prior to his 3:00 p.m. show.

This exclusive BTC Preferred Event is just another of many value added features that makes doing business with BTC such a pleasure. The exclusive free event is limited to the first 75 people purchasing tickets to the Nov. 13 performance of the Neal McCoy show from BTC and registering for the event. It starts at 2:30 p.m. and will be conducted in a private room at the theatre.

Neal has received the Entertainer of the Year award twice, won Video of the Year, has three Platinum Albums, one Gold album and nine number one hits. He is one of the legends of country music; yet, in responding to the question, “What one thing do you want potential Branson audiences coming to your show to know about the show,” he said, “We want the folks who come to our show to know that we’re here to entertain them. I’m not coming to show you how good I can sing or how good my band is. We’re here to make sure you’re part of the show and that you have enjoyed yourself when you leave.”

What better way to start enjoying yourself and becoming “part of the show” than by meeting and interacting with this country music legend during this unique exclusive Preferred Event. Wood reminds those that might want to take advantage of this special opportunity that it is limited to the first 75 who register for the event after purchasing tickets from BTC to the Nov. 13 performance of Neal’s show. She suggests making reservations as soon as possible.

For further information on this special event, tickets for the Neal McCoy show, or any other Branson show, please feel free to call the Branson Tourism Center at 800-785-1550.

Did you know this about fly fishing in Branson?

River Run Drift Boat

River Run McKenzie style drift boat coming out of early morning fog.

Many fishermen are aware of two of Branson’s Tri Lakes, Table Rock Lake and Bull Shoals Lake because of the great world class bass and crappie fishing they offer. Still others, although not nearly as many, are aware that Lake Taneycomo, flowing 23 miles from Table Rock Dam to Powersite Dam, before forming the headwaters for Bull Shoals Lake, offers great Rainbow and Brown Trout fishing. Still fewer know that, in terms of numbers of trout and accessibility, it is one of the finest trout fisheries in the country and that it offers, year round, great fly fishing.

Although, all 23 miles offer great trout fishing using a variety of methods, it is the area that the locals call the “Trophy Area,” starting with the “tail waters” just below Table Rock Dam and running for three miles downstream to the opening of Fall Creek that is generally considered the prime fly fishing area on the lake. That results from its topography, which, particularly when they are not running water through the dam, is shallow enough and has enough public access to permit excellent wade fishing.

“It’s an awesome Tailwater fishery,” said Carolyn Parker, the co-owner of River Run Outfitters, who operates a full service fly shop and the only Orvis Endorsed Guide Service in Branson. How awesome? In 2006 out of all the Orvis Outfitters in the nation, River Run won the “Orvis Outfitter of the Year” award over many of the excellent “Orvis Outfitters” located throughout the United States and has been a finalist the last four consecutive years. That says a lot about the quality the experience their customers have in their fly shop; while on guide trips, primarily using non-motorized McKenzie style drift boats, and the quality of the fly fishing on Lake Taneycomo.

Being a Tailwater fishery, Lake Taneycomo is dramatically impacted when water is being run through the dam to generate electricity. When they are not generating electricity, the lake, particularly the first two miles offers great wading. When they are generating electricity, usually preceded by the blowing of a horn, the water level and speed of the current increases quickly in proportion to the amount of water they are releasing. This makes it, for all practical purposes, accessible only to boat fishing if they are generating at a rate of much more than 1300 cubic feet (cfs) per second.

From a safety perspective, the best advice, if wade fishing and the horn blows, is to get out of the water as quickly as possible and assess the situation. Calling 417-336-5083 will provide information on the current generation conditions including how many cfs they are running.

The "CQ" Streamer is a great fly to use on Lake Taneycomo Trout.

The “CQ” Streamer is a great fly to use on Lake Taneycomo Trout.

Typically the “hatches” that other trout fisheries are noted for do not play a big part in fly fishing on Lake Taneycomo. On a day to day basis, midges such as the P & P, Copper Dunn, Black Zebra and others in sizes 12 through 20, depending on how much water is being run, fished under an indicator, catch a lot of fish. When using an indicator normally 6x fluorocarbon is sufficient, but on sunny days in shallow water with no wind 7x wouldn’t hurt.

For those who like to strip “streamers,” the size 12 olive CQ or Wolly Bugger would be a good place to start. Both come weighted and un-weighted. My favorite method of fishing is to attach a 7 foot, 1.5 ips, sinking Rio Versi leader with about 5 feet of 5x Trout Hunter tippet to one of those flies and have at it. I use this system because it permits me to both indicator fish and streamer fish with the same rod and line simply by changing the loop to loop leader and adding a few feet of tippet.

The good news is that there are two excellent fly shops on Highway 165 just south of the entry to the hatchery that will be delighted to give you the very latest information on what is working. They are “River Run Outfitters” and “Anglers and Archery Outfitters.”

In terms of places to stay, the fishery is within ten minutes of the vast majority of hotels and resorts in Branson. One of the closest full service resorts is the Welk Resort, located just across the street from the Pointe Royale Golf Course, which has an indoor water park and a complete slate of activities that the non-fishing members of the family can enjoy.

“And there’s one other thing that fly fishing in Branson offers, that virtually no other trout fishery in the nation can offer,” said Annette Wood, the Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center; “the shows, attractions, shopping and other fun filled exciting things that Branson is noted for, all within a ten minute drive of one of the best fly fishing experiences in America.”

Branson visitors can count on the “big three” regardless of the weather

30,000 pound ship "sails" the stage and breaks up during the storm.

“Jonah’s” 30,000 pound ship “sails” the stage and breaks up in a storm during this spectacular production.

“As autumn fades into winter and weather has more of an impact on our outdoor activities one of the great things about Branson is that, regardless of the weather, there is always plenty of exciting and entertaining things to do” said Annette Wood, the Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. “Even from an outdoor perspective, the weather in Branson is often mild enough that people are able to enjoy golfing, hiking and fishing and other outdoor activities on a near year round basis, but Branson’s “big three,” its shows, attractions and shopping, are not weather dependent,” she continued.

Here’s a list of the “big three” and why Branson visitors can count on enjoying them regardless of the weather:

1. Branson Shows – With the exception of the Shepherd of the Hills Outdoor Play, whose last 2014 performance will be Oct. 25, Branson’s legendary live shows are held inside modern environmentally controlled theatres, with comfortable seating, the latest sound and lighting equipment and are performed by some of the best entertainers around. From shows such as Sight and Sounds spectacular production of Jonah, The Acrobats of China, Legends in Concert and Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede to the comedy and country music of shows such as Presleys’ Country Jubilee, Grand Jubilee, Billy Dean and Clay Cooper’s Country Express or the excitement of the Haygoods, Shoji Tabuchi, Dublin’s Irish Tenors and the Celtic Ladies and Mickey Gilley, Branson’s major entertainment offering, its live shows, goes on regardless of the weather.

The Titanic Museum Attraction boards passengers for a unique "voyage" regardless of the weather.

The Titanic Museum Attraction boards passengers for a unique “voyage” regardless of the weather.

2. Attractions – Cold or snow, heat or rain, the vast majority of Branson’s attractions are not impacted by weather. Regardless of the weather Branson visitors can take an exciting and entertaining voyage aboard the Titanic Museum Attraction or one of Branson’s other attractions such as the “Hollywood Wax Museum,” “Ripley’s Believe It or Not,” or the “Butterfly Palace & Rainforest Adventure” to mention a few. There’s indoor miniature golf at Grand Country or Laser Tag, G-Force drag race simulator and arcades at the Track Family Fun Parks that have the added advantage, weather permitting, of some of the coolest go-cart tracks around.

3. Shopping – Branson is noted for the quality and variety of its shopping. From outlet malls like “The Shoppes at Branson Meadows” and “Tanger Outlets” to the over 100 retail stores, restaurants and attractions at “Branson Landing” and the specialty shops and galleries of the historic downtown Branson shopping district, Branson offers a variety of shopping that is unmatched by any travel destination anywhere near its size. Factor in unique stores such as the “Copper Coin” and the unique “Dick’s 5 & 10,” along with dozens of specialty and gift stores, crafters and studios such as “Crain Creations” and it becomes a shoppers dream regardless of the weather.

Obviously there will be a few days of the year when ice, snow or some other weather condition might impact the total Branson area, but on a day to day basis, three of the major things Branson is noted for, its shows, attractions and shopping, are available for the enjoyment, fun and entertainment of its visitors regardless of the weather.

Four great places to eat in Branson near where you might want to be

Some of the cast from the "Legends in Concert Show" "Celine Dion," Brigitte Valdez; "Johnny Cash, Paul Eve and "The Blues Brothers" Bucky Heard as "Jake Blues" and Justin Clark as "Elwood Blues" enjoying their meal at the Dick Clark's American Bandstand Grill.

Some of the cast from the “Legends in Concert Show” “Celine Dion,” Brigitte Valdez; “Johnny Cash, Paul Eve and “The Blues Brothers” Bucky Heard as “Jake Blues” and Justin Clark as “Elwood Blues” enjoying their meal at the Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Grill.

One of the major questions people ask about Branson is, “Where are the good places to eat?” Having lived in Branson the last 28 years, I can honestly say that there are good places to eat all over Branson and they have been feeding millions of locals and visitors each year. Here is a list of four Branson restaurants offering entirely different dining experiences that are conveniently located near places where you might want to be such as shopping or one of Branson’s Shows:

Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Grill – Located inside the “Dick Clark American Bandstand Theatre Complex” this restaurant couldn’t be more convenient to those wanting to attend the Legends In Concert show or to eat lunch after the Bretts morning show. It offers a diverse menu “including everything from Tex-Mex fajitas to New England style pot roast. There’s a great selection of burgers, soups, and salads, or make a selection from the Top Ten sandwich list! And there’s a Bandstand Bar for a cocktail, beer, or glass of wine with your meal. You’ll also enjoy the diner decor that includes memorabilia from Dick Clark’s own collection.” One of my favorite menu items is their “Cuban Sandwich, a delicious combination of thinly sliced smoked ham and roasted pork, grilled on a baguette with Swiss cheese, and served with dill pickle slices and mustard.

Hours: Sun – Tues: 11a.m. to 10 p.m.; Wed: 1 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Fri  -Sat: 11a.m. to 11p.m.

Famous Dave's o  at Branson Landing.

Famous Dave’s at at Branson         Landing.

Famous Dave’s Bar-B-Que – Located, in Branson Landing, a place where, every year, millions of Branson visitors visit and shop, Famous Dave’s serves up some of the best Bar-B-Que in Branson. “They specialize in made-from-scratch barbecued meats that melt in your mouth! The ‘pit masters’ are up at 4:00 a.m. to get their hickory logs smoldering for those carefully selected cuts of meat all hand-rubbed with fresh seasonings. There are several original sauces to choose from, and sides galore! Try the Build Your Own Barbecue (BYOB,) it’s a fun and unique way to create a great meal by choosing from unique toppings. Just two weeks ago I had their smoked brisket and chicken and topped it off with their fabulous Bread Pudding. Man was it good!

Hours: Mon – Thur: 11a.m. to 9 p.m. and Fri – Sat: 11a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sun: 11a.m. to 9 p.m.

La Piazza Ristoranti Italiano – One of Branson’s newest restaurants offering fine Italian dining and a location on Green Mountain Drive, Branson’s “Yellow Route” that is within a five minute drive of over a dozen Branson Theatres. La Piazza offers “authentic dishes prepared with the freshest ingredients to please the taste buds of even the most discerning Italian cuisine fanatics serving traditional carne, pollo, and pastas made with steak, lamb, chicken, and a variety of delicious vegetables, spices, and sauces made to satisfy your cravings and your budget.” Having eaten there on a number of occasions, as recently as last week, I can tell you that the food, presentation and preparations are fantastic. My favorite dish is their preparation of the classic “rib eye steak” called, “Bisteccalla Florentina.”

Hours: Sun – Thur: 3:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. and Fri – Sat. 3:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Paradise Grill & Steakhouse – Paradise Grill is located on the Shepherd of the Hills Expressway not a two minute walk away from the Piece Arrow and the Shoji Tabuchi shows. It “not only offers a wonderful menu of steak, country style dinners, and options for lighter, healthier eating,” but they also have two “food bars,”a dinner food bar and a soup/salad/fruit bar. “These ‘bars’ feature great food, thoughtfully prepared to please a variety of picky eaters.” I have eaten there a number of times and have always been impressed by their food and quality of service and just love their “food bars.”

Hours: Sun – Sat: 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.