Author Archives: Gary Groman

Best Branson Insider Highlights for November 2017

With the addition of the new, 1.5 million lighting spectacular, “Christmas in Midtown,” Silver Dollar City’s “Old Time Christmas” now has over 6.5 million lights.

“From the Nation’s largest Veteran’s Day Celebration, to Ozark Mountain Christmas, Branson’s Christmas Shows, and so much more, the month of November in Branson is easily one of the busiest and most entertaining months of the year,” said Annette Wood, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. “It’s hard to imagine a better way to get in the Christmas Spirit than in Branson, Missouri,” she added.

Here’s our Featured Show Event, and Limited Engagement of the Month, along with a list of the major, special limited engagement performances, and events you can enjoy in Branson during November 2017:

Featured Show of the Month: Andy Williams Christmas Extravaganza continues the tradition of “Mr. Christmas” and the “Andy Williams Christmas Show” with its variety, color, and excitement and showing why “It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!” Hosted by Jimmy Osmond, the vocal stars of the show, will be “The 5th Dimension,” through November 18 and the “Osmonds” and “Lennon Sisters,” from November 20 through December 16. That would be enough for most shows but, in keeping with the Andy Williams tradition of variety, there’s so much more! The amazing magic of illusionist Rick Thomas and his lovely wife Tara; “Britain’s Got Talent Sensation,” Charlie Green; Ventriloquist Steve Hewlett; the Andy Williams singers and dancers; the incomparable Moon River Band; with beautiful…gorgeous costumes and festive sets of holiday cheer. In addition, the shows from November 20 on will also feature the Magical Dancing of Pasha & Aliona and the Lennon Granddaughters.

International star, Daniel O’Donnell will be performing at the Welk Resort Theatre October 30- November 14.

Featured Limited Engagement of the Month: A favorite of Branson visitors and residents alike, the incomparable Daniel O’Donnell returns to Branson for a very limited engagement of 2:00 PM shows, running from October 30 through November 18 at the Welk Resort Theatre. Incorporating his charismatic and engaging style, he will present a blend of traditional Irish ballads, country favorites, and traditional gospel with an Irish twist that shows why he has sold millions of records and has been “a household name across Ireland and Great Britain for decades.”

Featured Events of the Month: Normally, for each month we have just one, but for the month of November there must be two:

Branson Veterans Homecoming Week is one of the biggest Veterans Day tributes in America, and is celebrated from November 5 through November 11. It features dozens of events all keyed toward honoring those who have served our nation and sacrificed so much.

Silver Dollar City’s “Old Time Christmas” celebrates the true meaning of this special magical season amidst the glow of over 6.5 million dazzling lights including 1.5 million added just this year for its new light spectacular “Christmas in Midtown.” Proclaimed as “The Most Illuminated Park on Earth” by the Travel Channel and “One of the most sparkly, lively holiday celebrations anywhere” by Midwest Living, “you’ll take home beautiful holiday memories destined to last a lifetime!”

LIMITED ENGAGEMENT PERFORMANCES (Sorted by starting date)

Nov 1-18: Daniel O’Donnell
Nov 1-30: Hallmark Presents Maxine’s Christmas Carol
Nov 1-16: Neal McCoy*
Nov 1-16: Oak Ridge Boys*
Nov 1-2: Boot Daddy Presents Gene Watson
Nov 3: Charlie Daniels Band
Nov 4: Dennis Quaid & The Sharks
Nov 5-27: The Urban Cowboy Reunion*
Nov 8: Country Unplugged Tour with Joe Diffie, Lorrie Morgan and Mark Chesnutt
Nov 10: Dailey and Vincent
Nov 11-12: Boot Daddy Presents Jimmy Fortune
Nov 12: Paul Anka
Nov 11: Scotty McCreery
Nov 15: Lee Greenwood
Nov 17-18: Johnny Mathis with Gary Mule Deer

SPECIAL EVENT HIGHLIGHTS (Sorted by starting date.)

Nov 1-16: ‘Flames of Freedom’ Play – Select Dates
Nov 1-Dec 30: Trail of Lights
Nov 1- Dec 31: Branson Landing’s Winter Wonderlanding!
Nov 1-Dec 31: Titanic Museum Christmas Tribute
Nov 3: West Plains High School Zizzer Band
Nov 3-4: Branson Market Days
Nov 3-5: Christmas Open House at StoneHouse Merchant
Nov 3-5: The Fisherman’s Hideout 1st Annual Fall Fishing Contest
Nov 4: Most Wonderful Time of Year Holiday Parade
Nov 4: Sporting Clays Shoot
Nov 4-Dec 24: Santa Arrives at the Branson Landing
Nov 4-Dec 10: Branson’s Festival of Trees
Nov 4-Dec 23: Showboat Branson Belle – Santa’s Pancakes & PJs Cruise
Nov 4-Dec 24: Visit Santa at Bass Pro
Nov 4-Dec 30: An Old Time Christmas Festival at Silver Dollar City
Nov 4-Dec31: Gingerbread Houses on Display at Chateau
Nov 5: Opening Day Welcome Home Celebration
Nov 5: Opening Ceremony Vets for Vets Celebration Show
Nov 5: Sunday November 5 – WWII Mini Reunion
Nov 5-11: Welk Resort Branson Hosts the Traveling Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall
Nov 6: Vietnam Veterans Mini Reunion
Nov 6: Navy Memorial Service
Nov 6: Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall Opening
Nov 6: World War II Veterans Honored
Nov 6: Medics, Nurses, and Combat Vets Mini Reunion
Nov 7: IMAX Military Film Festival
Nov 7: True American Hero Award Presentation
Nov 7: Blue Star Mothers Dessert
Nov 7: POW/MIA Service of Remembrance
Nov 7: Sandbox Party
Nov 8: Time for Prayer
Nov 8: 21st Annual Military Gala & Banquet
Nov 8: Women Veterans Mini Reunion
Nov 9: Veterans Empowerment Care
Nov 9: Veterans Grove Tree Dedication
Nov 9: Walmart Tribute to Veterans
Nov 9: 4th Infantry Division
Nov 9: Annual Tribute to Women Veterans & Rose Petal Ceremony
Nov 9: Korean War Veterans Mini Reunion
Nov 10: Flag Raising & Wreath Laying
Nov 10: Run to the Lights 5K Fundraiser
Nov 10: Veterans Day Pancake Breakfast
Nov 10: Groundbreaking Ceremony Korean Veterans Memorial at College of the Ozarks
Nov 10: Marine Corps Ball
Nov 10: Heroes on the Home Front – Spouses Tribute
Nov 10-12: Thomas Kinkade Master Highlighter Event
Nov 10-12: Legacy Days Vintage Baseball Festival
Nov 11: Disney Dreams Collector Event
Nov 11: Annual Branson Veterans Day Parade
Nov 11: Forsyth Veterans Day Celebration
Nov 11: Wine and Shine Fest
Nov 11: Ann Dezendorf, Janet Stewart and Betty Foster at The Grand Village Shops
Nov 12: Veterans Day Observance
Nov 18: Christopher Radko at The Grand Village
Nov 23: Top of the Rock Thanksgiving Dining
Nov 23: Golden Corral Thanksgiving Day Buffet
Nov 23: Thanksgiving at Level 2 Steakhouse
Nov 23: Mc Farlain’s Thanksgiving Day Feast
Nov 23: Keeter Center at College of the Ozarks Thanksgiving Day Brunch
Nov 23: Texas Land & Cattle Thanksgiving
Nov 23: Bob Evan’s Thanksgiving
Nov 23: The Worman House Thanksgiving Buffet
Nov 23: Additional Thanksgiving Dining in Branson
Nov 23: Turkey Trot 5K Branson
Nov 23: Devil’s Pool Thanksgiving Brunch
Nov 23:Chateau on the Lake Thanksgiving Brunch
Nov 23: Thanksgiving Day Cruise on Main Street Lake Cruises Landing Princess
Nov 23: Grand Country Thanksgiving Day Buffet
Nov 23-26: Moonlight Madness & After Thanksgiving Sales
Nov 23-26: Titanic Luminaries
Nov 24: Branson Landing’s Black Friday Blowout!
Nov 24: Special Visit from Santa at Branson Tourism Center!
Nov 23-25: After Thanksgiving Sale at Silver Dollar City
Nov 25: Fontanini Signing at The Grand Village

For additional information on these events, or 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 their website www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

 

* Selected dates only, please check linked schedule

Ozark Mountain Christmas celebrates the true excitement and spirit of Christmas

The “Andy Williams Christmas Extravaganza” staring the Osmonds and Lennon Sisters, “Christmas Wonderland,” Santa, and Silver Dollar City’s “An Old Time Christmas.”

“If you want a place where the spirit of the traditional American Christmas is honored, Branson, Missouri is for you,” said Annette Wood, the Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. “It’s a spectacular two-month celebration of the traditional American Christmas, Ozark Mountain Christmas, is like none other in the world. What other travel destination has Branson’s genuine Christmas spirit and live shows combined with millions of Christmas lights, drive through Christmas lighting displays, festive Christmas decorations, great shopping, an award-winning world class theme park, and so much more? None that we know of!” she added.

There’s always so much to see and do in Branson, but during Ozark Mountain Christmas, running from November 1 through December 31, it’s even more so. From among many, here’s three ideas that share the true excitement and spirit of an Ozark Mountain Christmas:

1. See One of Branson’s Live Christmas Shows: Branson is known for the variety of and quality of its live shows. During Ozark Mountain Christmas most of Branson’s most popular shows celebrate Christmas and the real “reason for the season,” starting with their first show in November. Branson’s Christmas shows are generally presented in one of two formats. One is shows that are totally Christmas. These include Andy Williams Christmas Extravaganza, Christmas Wonderland, Hughes Brothers Christmas Show, The Texas Tenors, Dixie Stampede, Sight and Sounds Miracle of Christmas, and others.

The second, involves a mixture of the “best” from their regular season shows and Christmas. Typically, about half of the show is devoted to the best of their regular season, and the other half, usually the last half, to their Christmas show. This would include many of Branson’s most popular shows such as Clay Cooper’s Country Express, the Haygoods, Presleys’ Country Jubilee, SIX, and others.

Many of Branson’s most popular shows will close out their 2017 season, including their Christmas shows by December 16. These include Presleys’ Country Jubilee, Andy Williams Christmas Extravaganza, Duttons, George Dyer, New Jersey Nights, and many more. Other popular shows such as Dixie Stampede, Clay Cooper’s Country Express, Dublin Tenors and the Celtic Ladies, Grand Jubilee, Haygoods, Hughes Brothers Christmas Show, Legends in Concert, Million Dollar Quartet, and SIX, remain open longer. It’s a good idea to check the individual show schedule, particularly for those remaining open after December 16, because they operate on abbreviated Christmas schedules.

2. Visit Silver Dollar City for its An Old Time Christmas Festival – The festival features over over 6.5 million sparkling Christmas lights with 1.5 million added just this year for its new light spectacular “Christmas in Midtown;” a Holly JollyTM Christmas Light Parade featuring Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer & Friends; 1,000 decorated Christmas Trees; two Broadway-style productions; a 5-Story Special Effects Christmas Tree; and more. Silver Dollar City’s An Old Time Christmas Festival has been perennially recognized as one of the best Christmas light displays in America. An Old Time Christmas resonates with the spirit and excitement of the traditional American celebration of Christmas. All the activities involved with An Old Time Christmas are in addition to the parks other activities including, weather permitting, its 30 plus rides and attractions. The festival runs from November 4 through December 30.

3. 69th Adoration Parade and Lighting Ceremony – On Sunday, December 5 at 5:00 PM, the Branson community will gather together to celebrate the true meaning of the Christmas season. The theme of the Lighting Ceremony and Parade is “keeping Christ in Christmas.” In keeping with that theme, the evening starts with the lighting of the giant 30-foot Nativity Scene near the top of Mount Branson overlooking Lake Taneycomo, Branson Landing, and Historic Downtown Branson. It’s immediately followed by a night “light parade” with dozens of bands, floats and walking units participating. The colorful and festive parade is themed to “keeping Christ in Christmas,” with no commercial advertising permitted on the floats.

“And that’s just three ideas from many,” said Wood. “Even if you can only visit for a couple of days, you can still enjoy the heartwarming charm of Christmas in Branson and the fun, excitement, and spirit of Ozark Mountain Christmas.

Ozark Mountain Christmas is not only one of the most special times of the year to visit Branson; it’s also one of the busiest. It’s suggested that you make reservations to insure availability and getting the best seats. For more information, or help with tickets and lodging, contact the Branson Tourism Center, at 1-800-785-1550 or through their website, www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

Kings Castle features a wonderland of amazing Christmas entertainment

Broadway The Greatest Hits, top left, Christmas Wonderland, New Jersey Nights, and Dublin’s Irish Tenors and The Celtic Ladies.

“The beautiful Kings Castle Theatre, located in the middle of the famed Branson Strip is known for the variety, quality, and production of its shows,” said Preston Garrison, Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center. “Each is a high energy production featuring some of the best vocalists and dancers in Branson, amid exciting choreography, lavish costuming, and dynamic state of the art lighting and sound, performing some of the most memorable music of all time,” he added.

“We offer a wide variety of stunning musical entertainment,” said Danelle Walters, the General Manager of King’s Castle Theatre. Puttin’on the Ritz features the timeless music of yesteryear; classics from our greatest composers such as George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, and Cole Porter. Broadway’s Greatest Hits is a high energy all singing and dancing glittering salute to the best of Broadway! Dublin’s Irish Tenors and The Celtic Ladies unites two exceptional groups of artists; five of the finest tenors and four beautiful ladies singing some of the very best music of the 20th century, including famous Irish classics, opera, pop, and swing. New Jersey Nights presents the timeless music and amazing harmonies of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons.

In celebration of Ozark Mountain Christmas, from their first show in November through the end of their season, each of these shows will be a combination of their regular season show and their Christmas show. The first half of each show will be the best of their regular season show while the second half will be their Christmas show featuring favorite Christmas music pertinent to the show.

“We’re really excited about our Christmas Wonderland Show,” Walters said. “It’s a 100 percent Christmas extravaganza filled with all the color, sounds, and excitement of Christmas. It will inspire and fill you with the spirit of Christmas even as it entertains and delights you,” she added. The show’s song list includes such favorites as Silent Night; Joyful, Joyful; Happy Holidays; Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree; O Come All Ye Faithful; and many more.

As is the case with other Kings Castle productions, the interaction of the vocalists with the energy and skill of the show’s dancers becomes a delightful part of this marvelous and unique entertainment experience. Throughout they demonstrate high energy, grace, skill, and versatility across a range of different dancing styles from the dazzling high stepping “Rockette” routines to tap dancing and so much in between. As one watches these superb dancers perform, the word that comes to mind is “amazing.”

Branson Tourism Center’s Garrison reminds those planning on visiting Branson during Ozark Mountain Christmas that it’s not only one of the most special times of the year to visit Branson, but one of the busiest. He suggests making reservations to ensure availability and the best seats and lodging accommodations.

For more information on any of these shows, other Branson shows or lodging please feel free to call one of our Branson based Vacation Specialists at 1-800-785-1550. They’ll answer questions about Branson shows, hotels, and attractions; help with making show, attraction, or lodging reservations; and get you the best available show seats and lodging. One call takes care of it all!  There is no charge for this service and they are available daily, except Christmas Day, from 8:00 AM to 9.30 PM.

Last chance to see “Moses” in Branson before the “Miracle of Christmas”

Not wanting to miss a last chance to see Sight and Sound’s amazing Moses again before its last performance in Branson on October 20, my bride and I went to see it last week. Every time I see it I am reminded of what Mike Pitman, the Business Development Manager for Sight and Sound, said about Moses prior to its opening in Branson. “People expect the inspirational and spectacular from Sight & Sound, but Moses takes it to an entirely new level. While maintaining its inspirational biblical perspective, Moses is the most spectacular, technologically advanced, show that Sight & Sound Theaters has ever put on stage,” he said.

In addition, it’s an epic and powerful biblical story with which we are all familiar. It follows Moses on his search for personal identity as he decided to follow his God and, unbeknownst to him at the time, change the course of human history. It’s an adventure back in time to witness some of the greatest moments in biblical history; feel God’s awe-inspiring power as you sit in the midst of the parted Red Sea; and experience the exhilaration and celebration of the Israelites as they brush past you on their way to freedom and the promised land.

The story is told as only Sight and Sound can! It has incredible special effects throughout that leave people asking, “How did they do that?” But it has so much more too. The colorful costuming, 360 foot surround stage, magnificent sets, live animals, and outstanding dramatic and vocal performances by the cast, resulting in a spectacular entertainment experience that the whole family will enjoy.

 

One of the many inspiring and spectacular scenes from Sight and Sound’s “Miracle of Christmas.”

After Moses closes on October 20 Sight and Sound will be setting up for its Christmas spectacular, Miracle of Christmas which runs from November 4 through December 30. What better way to get in the true Christmas spirit than this inspiring biblical account of the birth of Jesus and the events leading up to it as they explore the human side of His birth and the true “reason for the season.”

It’s a modern production “miracle.” From its very beginning, the audience is swept into a betrothal ceremony displaying the first of the shows spectacular sets, a large two-story edifice surrounding a courtyard in the center of Nazareth. It takes up the entire center of the 20,000-square foot, 300 foot long wrap around stage. The talent of the cast is immediately apparent as Mary and Joseph sing of their love for each other and the cast joins together in a beautiful and lively celebratory dance.

The Miracle of Christmas ends “with flying angels and magnificent music, camels and wise men and shepherds at the manger honoring the Son of God after his birth. It is one of the most spectacular things most people will ever experience on a stage in terms of production, grandeur, entertainment, and sensory appeal. An amazing ending! It’s not only exciting entertainment, but a Christmas blessing for those who know Jesus as their Lord and Savior as well as those who don’t.”

Sight and Sound will be presenting its jaw-dropping production of Samson in Branson for the 2018 season. This amazing biblical story is brought to life by a world-class cast, spectacular special effects, and live animals – on stage and in the aisles. It’s an unforgettable, uplifting thrill ride that literally brings the house down!

For more information on either Moses, Samson, and the Miracle of Christmas, or other great Branson shows or lodging, please contact the Branson Tourism Center, one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services and sellers of almost 5 million Branson show and attraction tickets by calling 1-800-785-1550 or through their website www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

Your top two must see Branson shows this year are?


“Branson offers so many quality shows that it can sometimes be bewildering to decide which one(s) to pick,” said Preston Garrison, Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center, one of Branson’s largest providers of tourism services and information. “To help narrow things down a bit, we thought it would be interesting to ask those interacting with us on our Facebook page the question, “What would be your top two must see shows in Branson this year?”

Based on the evaluation of hundreds of responses, and sorted alphabetically, here’s a list of the 12 shows mentioned the most often. Interestingly, all are also listed on Branson Tourism Center’s List of Most Popular and Highly Recommended Branson Shows. We hope that you will find it useful.

Clay Cooper’s Country Express is filled with dancing, comedy, singing, 24 veteran entertainers, and backed by a live band. You’ll hear a variety of music – old and new country, rock n roll, current hits, gospel, and patriotic! It’s more than just country! You don’t want to miss it!

Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede is the perfect family destination in Branson for exciting entertainment and a fantastic, hope-you’re hungry, four-course feast! Arrive early for the new pre-show, The White River Wranglers, and only in Branson, see Canine Capers! This stunt dog relay event includes Fly-Ball racing, agility course, and high jump and features all rescue animals, specially trained and guaranteed to please the dog lover in you.

The Grand Jubilee boasts tight harmonies and a variety of musical styles; a show custom-made for all ages! Enjoy the dynamic performance of New South, a quartet that can play it all, from country and gospel, to rock n roll favorites! Jamie Haage and emcee extraordinaire, Mike Patrick, will keep you in stitches!

The Haygoods is an amazing Branson experience! Excellent choreography, exquisite harmonies, state-of-the-art sound and special effects, a delightful sense of humor, and energy that never quits, you get it all in one show from one phenomenal family! It’s easy to see why “The Haygoods” pack the house night after night!

“it” Starring the Hughes Brothers fills the Branson stage…literally! More than 50 members of the Hughes clan employ a wide array of musical gifts, including magnificent dance moves, exceptional skill on a variety of instruments, and vocals highlighted by impeccable harmonies.

Legends in Concert is the world’s greatest tribute show! Amazing artists deliver uncanny performances of huge stars; the revolving lineup features Elvis, Bruno Mars, The Blues Brothers™, Prince, Aretha Franklin, Johnny Cash, Michael Jackson, Adele, George Strait, Barbara Streisand, and Frank Sinatra.

The Million Dollar Quartet captures a singular moment when four of the most extraordinary musical talents – Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins – came together for one unforgettable night! Hear songs like That’s All Right, I Walk the Line, Riders in the Sky, Hound Dog, Peace in the Valley, Whole Lotta Shakin’, and Blue Suede Shoes and many more.

Moses, the biblical tale, is an epic adventure of one man’s journey from humble and broken to the follower of God who delivers the children of Israel from enslavement, performed by a phenomenal cast, astonishing sets, and stunning costumes.

Pierce Arrow puts the hot in Branson entertainment! Always cutting edge and top quality, you can count on these seasoned performers to put on a high energy show and to change it up throughout the year. “Pierce Arrow” has created a loyal base of fans who return time and again for a show that’s always offering something new!

Presleys’ Country Jubilee, celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year, continues to be a mainstay on the list of Branson experiences you can’t miss! Long before Branson, Missouri was known as one of America’s top vacation destinations, the Presley family had people from across the country lined up every night to see Branson’s First Family of Entertainment.

SIX is Branson’s sensational sibling singing group that quite simply defines the art of performing music without instruments! Sensational harmonizing, polished professionalism, zany on-stage antics…it’s the most talented half dozen guys you’ll ever meet! They’ll charm you right from the opening note!

The Texas Tenors continue to be one of Branson’s most popular acts! Ever since we met the extremely talented and exceptionally charming trio of handsome troubadours on America’s Got Talent, they’ve been delighting fans with several genres of music; country, gospel, pop, Broadway, and classical. Enjoy favorites like Rocky Top and Unchained Melody.

For additional information on these and other Branson attractions and shows, please contact the Branson Tourism Center, one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services, by calling 1-800-785-1550, or by visiting www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

Yakov Smirnoff to make Branson audiences laugh again in 2018

Yakov Smirnoff “supervising” the repair of the “K” on the YAKOV sign during the announcement.

After a two-year absence from his Branson theatre, America’s favorite Russian comedian, Yakov Smirnoff, announced on September 20, 2017, that he would be returning to his theatre in 2018. The announcement was made as he was personally “supervising” the repairs to his theatre sign.

He said, “After touring the world over the last two years and being in Hollywood for a while now, I’ve been missing Branson. Today I put the ‘K,’ that’s been missing from my ‘YAKOV” sign, back up. In 2018, I’m putting my show, that’s been missing from my Branson theatre, back. It’s time to Make America Laugh Again!” With the current political climate between Russia and the United States, America’s favorite Russian comedian has “plenty of new material to keep everyone in stitches.”

Yakov was born in Odessa, Ukraine on January 24, 1951 and brought his comedy to America when he immigrated with his family in 1977. Prior to his latest two-year tour, Yakov had spent 20 seasons entertaining Branson audiences making them come alive with laughter. His comparisons with life in Russia and life in America, along with his philosophy and insights about how “Love and Laughter” go hand in hand and is as funny, interesting, and entertaining.

He said, “If you are aware of the concept that laughter can guide you through life, it can help you tremendously. If you don’t pay attention to who you laugh with and you hang out with people who don’t, your life is not going to be a happy life. Laughter can guide you to the right people. If you are having fun you are doing it right. If you are not having fun you are doing it wrong. It’s as simple as that.”

Yakov will be continuing his worldwide tour, performing and teaching courses on “Happiness and Laughter,” until he returns to perform in Branson from October 13 through November 24, 2018. He is an accomplished artist, holds a Master’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania, and is currently earning his Ph.D. in Psychology and Global Leadership at Pepperdine University.

 

Best Branson Insider Highlights for October 2017

Chuck Wagon Cooking from Silver Dollar City’s Nation Crafts & Cowboy Festival, “The Texas Tenors”, and the “Million Dollar Quartet.”

“Branson’s beautiful fall foliage season will peak sometime between the middle and end of October,” said Preston Garrison, Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center. “That, coupled with smaller crowds, cooler temperatures, and most of its Attractions and Shows being open, make October an ideal time to visit Branson. It’s also the last opportunity to see the biblical spectacular Moses and the regular season productions of many of Branson’s most popular shows before they start their Christmas shows during the first week of November,” he added.

Here’s an insider’s highlight list, containing some of the best of what’s going on in Branson during October including our Featured Show, Limited Engagement, and Event of the Month.

Featured Show of the Month: The Million Dollar Quartet is one of Branson’s most popular shows. It tells the story of one of the greatest jam sessions in rock n’ roll history. A once in a lifetime impromptu jam session of four young recording legends-to-be, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, and Jerry Lee Lewis that would have been a forgotten page of history, but for the discovery of an unknown recording of it decades later. It became the inspiration for the Tony Award winning musical Million Dollar Quartet that shares the music, spontaneity, and drama of what happened that December 4, 1956 day, as these four legends performed together for their first and last time. Its outstanding cast, timeless music that everyone knows, and great storyline combined with the show’s unique set and great production to create an incredible entertainment experience for the whole family.

Featured Limited Engagement of the Month: Since their national debut on NBC’s hit prime time show America’s Got Talent in 2009, The Texas Tenors have become one of the most popular singing groups in America. In addition, to a full concert schedule and many hit recordings, they have filmed two PBS Specials, “You Should Dream” and, just recently their newest, “Rise.” The show is in concert format containing many covers and original music including country, classical, gospel, Broadway, and more. From their first number to the last, the power, beauty, and intensity of each totals up to an unforgettable entertainment experience that should not be missed!

Featured Event of the Month: Silver Dollar City’s National Crafts & Cowboy Festival showcases the largest gathering of demonstrating craftsmen in the country. It features a Buffalo Bill style Wild West Show; chuck wagon cooking by Kent Rollins; expert horse trainer Fred Woehl taming beautiful wild mustangs; Silver Dollar City’s Barn Dance, and much more all in addition to all the other rides and activities the world class 1880s styled theme park offers daily.

Limited Engagements (Sorted by starting date)

Oct 4-5: Oak Ridge Boys
Oct 5: Dailey and Vincent
Oct 6-7: Herman’s Hermits Starring Peter Noone, & B.J. Thomas
Oct 8: America
Oct 11-12: Oak Ridge Boys
Oct 12-13: Boot Daddy Presents Gene Watson
Oct 13: Neal McCoy
Oct 13: Roots and Boots Tour starring Pam Tillis, Sammy Kershaw and Collin Raye
Oct 14: John Michael Montgomery
Oct 14: Sawyer Brown
Oct 15: Sara Evans
Oct 17-18: Boot Daddy Presents Jimmy Fortune
Oct 18: Gary Lewis & The Playboys, Dennis Tufano, and La La Brooks
Oct 20: Bill Engvall
Oct 21: Neil Sedaka
Oct 26: Oak Ridge Boys
Oct 28: The Golden Boys
Oct 27: William Shatner: Shatner’s World
Oct 30-Nov 18: Daniel O’Donnell
Oct 31: Oak Ridge Boys

Special Event Highlights (Sorted by starting date.)

Oct 1-28: National Craft & Cowboy Festival at Silver Dollar City
Oct 1- 31: The Urban Cowboy Reunion – Select Dates
Oct 1: Wounded Warriors Amputee Softball Team – Kids Camp Reunion
Oct 1: Annual TangerStyle Fit for a Cure 5K Run/Walk
Oct 1: Grand Country Half Marathon & 5K
Oct 3-Nov 16: ‘Flames of Freedom’ Play – Select Dates
Oct 6: Movie in the Park – Hocus Pocus
Oct 7: Harvest Moon Festival
Oct 10: Cops for Kids Open Buddy Bass Tournament
Oct 13-15: 2017 Outlaw Invitational Ledgestone Country Club
Oct 13-15: Ballparks of America – Ozark Mountain Fall Championship (7U-13U)
Oct 13-15: Our Lady of the Lake Annual Arts & Crafts Festival
Oct 14: Hollister Grape & Fall Festival
Oct 14: Branson’s Center Stage Presents Classic Rumble
Oct 14: Hollister Color Me Grape 5K
Oct 17-22: The Branson Collector Car Auction
Oct 20: Edina High School Marching Hornet Band Performance
Oct 27: Little River Band
Oct 27-29: Ballparks of America – Field of Screams (9U-13U)
Oct 28: Halloween BOOnanza at the Branson Recplex
Oct 28: 4th Annual Trout Team Tournament
Oct 28: Halloween Boogie Bash @ The Atrium
Oct 31: Trick or Treat Tangerstyle
Oct 31: Branson Landing’s Annual Safe Street Trick or Treat

For additional information on these events, or 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 visiting www.BransonTourismCenter.com, or calling 1-800-785-1550.

 

Up Close and Personal with Raiding the Country Vault’s Sir Harry Cowell

Sir Harry Cowell, CEO of Papa Entertainment PLC, the company responsible the hit shows “Raiding the Country Vault” and “Raiding the Rock Vault.”

Following the successful format used in their hit Las Vegas show Raiding the Rock Vault, Sir Harry Cowell, and his partner Simon Napier-Bell, premiered their new show, Raiding the Country Vault in Branson. It’s a show filled with some of the greatest country music classics, of all time, with an outstanding cast,performing music they know, love, and respect. Every song in the show is a song that most, whether a country music fan or not, will recognize.

“Branson – Up Close and Personal” is a service of the Branson Tourism Center (BTC), one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services. It uses a “Question and Answer” format to provide readers with an up close and personal look at a Branson star or personality. Sir Harry Cowell, one of the owners of Raiding the Country Vault and its manager, is our guest for this interview.

BTC: Are you related to Simon Cowell
Sir Harry: No.

BTC: What separates Raiding the Country Vault from other country shows?
Sir Harry: Each of the songs in the show is a classic country hit that was a number one song for the artist. The great thing about the show is that it’s country music, almost everyone will recognize.

BTC: What is it about Raiding the Country Vault that sets it apart from other Branson shows?
Sir Harry: It’s pretty simple. We do a straight 90 minute concert of some of the finest classic country hits of all time, sung and played by, some of the people who wrote or performed them and some of the most talented country music vocalists and instrumentalists around.

BTC: What will the audience notice about each of the songs in the show?
Sir Harry: They are all big hits, most number one hits, and done exactly as they were originally done.

BTC: What’s the relationship between the performers in the show and either the songs they perform or the performers who made the songs famous?
Sir Harry: This is the real deal. Everyone in the show, has had country hits in their own rights. Billy Yates has played the Grand Ole Opry 49 times.

BTC: What’s your personal favorite song in Raiding the Country Vault?
Sir Harry: The Glen Campbell hit, Wichita Lineman. It’s a great song, telling a great story and Michael Peterson really nails it.

BTC:  Why should someone coming to Branson plan to see Raiding the Country Vault?
Sir Harry: If you want to see a show filled with country classics, lights, lasers, and special effects this is the show for you.

BTC: What do you like best about Branson?
Sir Harry: The people and the weather. I feel very much at home. The weather changes, although a little more extreme, reminds me of England.

BTC: Why do people call you “Sir Harry?”
Sir Harry: I went to school in the UK with a lot of royalty and so my nickname became “Sir Harry.”

BTC: Where were you born?
Sir Harry: In Dorking, Surrey, near London.

BTC: Are you a United States citizen?
Sir Harry: No, I am absolutely English.

BTC: How much time do you spend in the United States?
Sir Harry: I have a work permit and, between Las Vegas and Branson, spend about 75 to 80 percent of my time in the United States.

BTC: How did you get involved with show business?
Sir Harry: I was a drummer in a band in the 70s. I had my own recording studio, published music, and managed bands, including the band “Asia,’” alongside of Simon Napier-Bell, my partner.

BTC: What’s your specific involvement with the Starlite Theatre?
Sir Harry: We lease and totally operate the theatre.

BTC: What else would you like our readers to know about the Starlite Theatre?
Sir Harry: From the quality and variety of the entertainment we offer; to some of the best BBQ in Branson at the “Getting Basted” restaurant in our lobby; gift shop; flat parking; and other amenities, there’s not another theatre or entertainment experience in Branson like ours.

For additional information or tickets for Raiding the Country Vault, or any of the other shows at the Starlite Theatre, please contact the Branson Tourism Center by calling 1-800-785-1550, or by visiting www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

“Country on the Lake” is so much more than just a show!

Vocal cast of Country on the Lake Ali Lynn Antonetz, right, Santino Tomasetti, Brian Nolf, Kelly White, Kelsie Watts and Brendan Young.

“To describe ‘Country on the Lake’ strictly as a show doesn’t do it justice,” said Preston Garrison, Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center. “It’s part of a wonderful entertainment adventure, including the show, cruising Table Rock Lake aboard the 278 foot-long Showboat Branson Belle, and a delicious meal,” he added.

Recently, I had the opportunity to cruise aboard the magnificent Showboat. It’s something I have enjoyed on many occasions in the past but WOW, “What a difference a year makes!”

During her off season, the Showboat underwent Phase One of a two year multi-million dollar “relaunch” project. Nick Guevel, Director of Operations for the Showboat Branson Belle, said it included a complete redo of the theatre and dining area’s carpeting, stage, chairs, wall paper, painting, and an expansion of the premium dining area. It also includes a major modification made to the panoramic windows throughout the boat so that the curtains won’t have to be drawn while guests enjoy the show; and much more.

All I can say is that it’s beautiful. There is more space between seats and I really enjoyed being able to look out the windows during the show. They have even changed the boarding process to eliminate long lines and permit a more relaxed experience from the very beginning.

“Country on the Lake” and its BBQ menu is also part of the “relaunch.” The show, and its menu was developed in response to what research indicated their guests wanted. Soon after boarding, the “Country on the Lake Band” started playing classic country songs as the Showboat’s excellent servers started serving lunch. It includes a great spring mix salad; slow smoked pork, smoked at Silver Dollar City and delivered fresh to the boat each day; BBQ Chicken; loaded baked potatoes; roasted corn; homemade rolls; and ice cream pie for dessert.

After lunch, and ample time to stroll the boat and enjoy the scenery, “Country on the Lake” starts. It uses a straight concert format. It‘s different from the “variety” format typically used on the Showboat’s other shows such as its evening cruise show, “CELEBRATE.” The cast features “some very talented rising Nashville stars backed by a live band performing country hits from Dolly Parton, Glen Campbell, Garth Brooks, The Judds, Trisha Yearwood, Reba McEntire and many more!”

The shows vocalists are Brian Nolf, who also Hosts; Alyssa “Ali Lynn” Antonetz; Santino Tomasetti; Kelsie Watts; Kelly White; and Brendan Young. They are accompanied by the “Country on the Lake Band,” composed of band leader and pianist, Ricki Holmes; guitar player, Grant Moody; fiddle player, Dean Church; drummer, Brian Duvall; and bass player, Austin Wilson

From their opening number, Party on the Lake, to their closing number, the Battle Hymn of the Republic, the talent and passion of this cast is a joy to experience. My custom is to describe three of my favorite highlights from each show I write about in the hope that it will give a feel for what to expect.

Dean Church has been playing the fiddle for Branson audiences for decades. His rendition of the Charlie Daniels hit “Devil Went Down to Georgia,” with the integration of the videos screen on the side was one of the most entertaining and exciting performances of this song that I have every experienced. Two other highlights were Alyssa Antonetz’s performance of the Carrie Underwood hit “All American Girl,” and the all cast Finale including Aaron Tippin’s “Stars & Stripes & Eagles Fly” and the “Battle Hymm of the Republic.”

As we debarked, the cast was there to say, “Hi,” pose for pictures, and sign autographs. From beginning to end the entire experience was a delight. What a great way to start an afternoon in Branson!

For more information or tickets for the Showboat Branson Belle and its shows please contact the Branson Tourism Center. They can be reached by calling 1-800-785-1550 or through their website www.BransonTourismCenter.com,

 

From mustangs to crafts – Silver Dollar City’s National Crafts & Cowboy Festival has it all!

Mustang expert Fred Woehl is just one of the unique and exciting things to experience at Silver Dollar City’s National Crafts & Cowboy Festival.

Silver Dollar City’s National Crafts & Cowboy Festival is a sure sign of fall in Branson,” said Preston Garrison, Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center. “It’s a joint celebration of the legacy of the ‘Great American Cowboy’ and ‘1880’s style craftsmanship.’ There’s not another like it anywhere,” he added.

The Festival runs from September 13 to October 28 and is one of the largest gatherings of demonstrating craftsmen in the country. About 125 “visiting craftsmen, including Best of Missouri Hands juried artists,” will join Silver Dollar City’s 100 traditional craftsmen for the festival. It’s a unique chance to experience and see demonstrations of a variety of American crafts all in one place, including basketry, cooperage, knife making, stained glass, glass blowing, pottery & ceramics, quilt making, and many more.

Silver Dollar City’s Wild West Show, is returning, by popular demand, and will run through October 15. It’s hosted by trick roper and bullwhip artist A.J. Silver. Reminiscent of the Wild West shows of the 1880s, the show features trick riders, 8-time World Champion Native American Hoop Dancer Nakotah LaRance, performing canines, and a new marksmanship demonstration by sharpshooting champion Kala Howard, who fires at targets while riding horseback.”

The Festival’s musical entertainment includes “Western Music Association 7-time Female Performer of the Year Belinda Gail, 3-time Group of the Year Miss Devon and the Outlaw, Entertainer of the Year and 2-time Female Performer of the Year Kristyn Harris, plus The Malpass Brothers, and The Home Rangers.” The popular Barn Dance, with Silver Dollar City’s own “Horsecreek Band,” will be held at the Carousel Barn each day.

See the “Extreme Mustang Makeover,” as mustang expert Fred Woehl tames and trains rescued wild mustangs. Kent Rollins, a ranch owner, whose chuck wagon cooking talents have been featured on the Food Network’s “Chopped” and “Throwdown with Bobby Flay,” returns for daily demonstrations of trail-side cooking. “Watercolor artist and Gunsmoke star Buck Taylor shows off his and other artists’ work in Buck Taylor’s Cowboy Emporium, located in the Silver Dollar City Frisco Barn. A cowboy art-lover’s dream; it features craftsmen with cowboy-inspired crafts like saddle making, leather crafting, Native American jewelry making, antler art, moccasin crafting and turkey feather painting.

In addition to the excellent food offered throughout the park daily, there will also be special Festival food offerings. These include Harvest Skillets with vegetables and smoked ham, bacon-wrapped smoked Turkey Legs, slow-smoked Prime Rib, and Apple Dumplings with homemade Cinnamon Ice Cream.

Branson Tourism Center’s Garrison points out that all the activities of the National Harvest & Cowboy Festival are in addition to everything else the award winning 1880’s theme park offers daily. This includes over 30 rides and attractions, 12 stage venues, 60 shops and more.

In terms of value and being able to enjoy all that Silver Dollar City has to offer at your leisure, he points out that the Branson Tourism Center (BTC) has a two day Silver Dollar City Pass that offers a greatly discounted price over two one day admissions. For additional information or tickets for Silver Dollar City, including the National Harvest & Cowboy Festival, or any of Branson’s other shows, attractions, or lodging, please contact BTC by either calling their toll-free number 1-800-785-1550 or through their website https://www.bransontourismcenter.com/.