BRANSON, MISSOURI CELEBRATES RECORD-BREAKING 100 SHOWS
"More Stars Than Anywhere Else in the Universe"
In 2014, Branson's state-of-the-art stages will offer more than 100 shows. Much to the approval of the estimated seven million visitors who converge each year on the Ozark Mountain town of little more than 6,000 residents, Branson's stars can be spotted each morning, afternoon and well into the evening in almost every type of theatrical performance imaginable. Pop, gospel, blues, rock 'n' roll, western, Cajun, swing, classical, big band, Motown and Broadway have become as important to Branson visitors as its country and comedy roots. Day or night, our little town of Branson, Missouri, just may hold more stars than anywhere else in the universe, says Dennis Mabe, singer, guitarist and member of the founding family of Branson's first music show, the Baldknobbers Jamboree.
"At the moment, we can name 110 shows at 46 venues," said Ross Summers, Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce executive vice president. "That's about a dozen more shows than last year. Almost every week we hear of a new show or an announcement in the works."
It's an eclectic town that shows many faces; most all are family-oriented and approachable. It's not unusual to see Andy Williams on the golf course, or to encounter comedic performer Jim Stafford in a restaurant (he knows he's been spotted when he hears someone in a nearby booth singing, I don't like spiders and snakes!).
Branson's 45-year-old live entertainment scene had been enjoyed by many thousands of visitors before it was "discovered" by the CBS television program 60 Minutes in 1991. Since that time, family entertainment has continued to explode here with a huge influx of performers, exciting additions to the area's famed amusement parks and increased focus on the Ozarks' limitless outdoor activities.
Each spring, Branson kicks into high gear in April when Branson Fest packs a sampling of the town's shows into a five-day festival. We go every year, says Bob Langbein of Mountain Home, Arkansas. I can't wait to see what's new for this year, and I love getting to meet the stars. Bob says he has made plans to attend this year's event, April 10-14 at the Welk Resort in Branson.
April is also when the internationally-awarded Silver Dollar City theme park opens for the season with the first of its four seasonal festivals, World-Fest, bringing in hundreds of performers from around the world. Groups include a steel drum performance band from Trinidad, precision flag-throwers from Italy, musicians from Australia and acrobats from Africa. Throughout the year the park offers visitors a chance to spend a day in the 1880s Ozarks with traditional food, festivals, music, costumes and atmosphere, as well as themed rides.
Other popular Branson attractions include Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede Dinner and Show, complete with six tons of real live buffalo leading the stampede nightly; the $40 million Celebration City theme park offering a massive wooden roller coaster, a variety of rides and games, and a spectacular laser and light show; the vintage 1940s Branson Scenic Railway featuring fully-restored passenger cars that recreate the classic travel experience of another time; the Roy Rogers-Dale Evans Museum, displaying personal and professional memorabilia from the Roy Rogers family; and turn-of-the-century paddlewheeler Showboat Branson Belle, providing a two hour lake excursion with a sit-down meal and the Steppin' Out Show starring ventriloquist Todd Oliver and his talking dog, Irving.
The surrounding Ozark Mountains provide the gorgeous backdrop for all this spectacular entertainment and are an ideal playground for outdoor enthusiasts, as well. Visitors can hike, bike or ride horseback through the wooded hills; three pristine lakes offer water activities galore with easy access to world-class fishing, boating, canoeing, kayaking, cruises, houseboats, jet-skiing and even duck rides.
Integrating inspired course design by such luminaries as Tom Fazio and Jack Nicklaus with rugged Ozarks topography, Branson's golf courses provide a challenging golf experience set amidst sweeping mountain vistas and scenic hillside terrain. The area boasts eight 18-hole courses and two 9-hole executive courses. Branson Creek Golf Club has been named #1 course in Missouri and in the Top 100 nationwide by Golf Digest.
With three outlet malls featuring over 200 outlet stores, Branson offers name-brand merchandise as well as a remarkable assortment of heirloom crafts, designer clothing and handmade items. Branson's historic downtown shopping district is a step into the past with flower-lined streets, quaint shops, flea markets and old-fashioned hospitality.
People of all ages come to Branson because there is truly something fun for everyone, says Steve Presley of Presley's Country Jubilee, first show on the famous Branson Strip (Highway 76). The theme parks, the lake activities, the wooded hills, the shopping, the golf, the endless variety of first-rate entertainment. Branson's fun! And folks really appreciate the old-fashioned Ozarks hospitality.
Many visitors come several times a year, as each season brings something new to enjoy, says one of the most popular of Branson stars, famed Russian comedian Yakov Smirnoff. Besides, if you see five shows every time you come, you'll have to visit more than 20 times just to see them all once!
Call us today to start your vacation plans, for we are open 7 days a week. 1-800-785-1550 Branson Tourism Center has Package Specials, Group Specials or we will serve you for just one show ticket or one night's lodging.