Author Archives: O. C. Gull

Yahoo Travel names Branson as one of Top 10 Destinations for Holiday Lights

Millions of sparkling Christmas lights decorate Silver Dollar City's town square, light parade and five story Special Effects Christmas Tree. *

BRANSON, Mo. From trees to Nativity scenes and lots in between, Christmas lights add a special beauty and glitter to Branson’s celebration of the traditional American Christmas. Since its inception over 20 years ago, Christmas Lights have played a very important part of Branson’s Ozark Mountain Christmas adding a glow to the Ozark Hills that spreads from the wonder of Silver Dollar City’s Old Time Christmas to the giant Nativity Scene on Top of Mount Branson overlooking Branson Landing and downtown Branson.

Recently Branson was listed as number six, by Yahoo! Travel in an article entitled “Top 10 Destinations for Holiday Lights,” written by Elissa Richard. “It’s amazing that a little town in southwestern Missouri is listed on the same list with New York City, Walt Disney World, Chicago and others,” said Tammy Johnson, the Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center. “What a testimony to the great experience Branson guests can expect during Ozark Mountain Christmas,” she continued.

The article points out that Branson is transformed into a “veritable winter wonderland each holiday season, bursting at the seams with lavish light displays…”It specifically mentions Silver Dollar City’s An Old Time Christmas, describing it as “an elaborate light-and-music show showcasing no fewer than 4 million radiant lights and 1,000 decorated Christmas trees” including the “5-story Special Effects Christmas Tree which, along with the surrounding square, beams with over a million lights that ‘dance’ to select Christmas tunes and the holiday light parade with light-embellished musical floats that runs twice each evening.”

Branson’s two other major drive through Christmas lighting displays The Shepherd of the Hills Trail of Lights and the Branson Area Festival of Lights were also featured in the article. The “Shepherd of the Hills Trail of Lights” is a two and a half mile journey through millions of Christmas lights, hundreds of gorgeous displays, holiday music, and animated scenes most of which have been integrated into the natural terrain of the Shepherd of the Hills Homestead. and includes a “trip to Inspiration Tower where guests can ride glass elevators up 230 feet for a ‘Santa’s eye view’ of the lights from above.” The “Branson Area Festival of Lights” is a one mile trip through more than 175 sparkling lighting displays, many of which are animated.

“And that’s just the Christmas lights at the major displays,” said Johnson. Indeed, when all the rest of the lighting and decorations that the city of Branson, Branson Landing and Branson’s shows, attractions and other businesses have done is factored in with the giant Nativity Scene that overlooks historic downtown Branson, it’s hard to envision a city that will be more aglow with either Christmas lights or the true spirit Christmas than Branson, Missouri.

* Photo courtesy of Silver Dollar City

Branson is a Thanksgiving cornucopia of food, shows, fun and shopping

Silver Dollar City's town square during "An Old Time Christmas" with its five story Christmas Tree and the "Holiday of Lights" parade passing through.

“Traditionally, Thanksgiving signals the beginning of the Christmas Season and what better way to celebrate Thanksgiving and get that Christmas Spirit than in Branson, Missouri, said Tammy Johnson, the Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center. “Branson’s Ozark Mountain Christmas is in full swing with a full slate of activities scheduled right through the long Thanksgiving weekend. From drive through Christmas lighting displays, special Christmas activities at many Branson attractions, live shows, wonderful food, great shopping and a wide choices of other activities there is something for everyone in Branson this Thanksgiving,” she continued.

One thing just about everyone looks forward to on Thanksgiving Day is the traditional Thanksgiving meal. In that regard Branson’s restaurants will be offering a large variety of special Thanksgiving meals and buffets. For a list of Thanksgiving Day dinning choices, schedules and, in some cases menus please click here and look under the tab “Thanksgiving in Branson.” In addition, for those who might want to eat and be entertained at the same time, it should be pointed out that the Showboat Branson Belle, Legend of Kung Fu, Yakov’s Dinner Adventure and Dixie Stampede will also be available not only on Thanksgiving Day, but during the whole Thanksgiving weekend.

And speaking of entertainment, there will be a full selection of Branson’s live shows available on Thanksgiving day as well as over the Thanksgiving weekend. The following list of Branson shows scheduled to be open on Thanksgiving Day is sorted by time. The full schedule of Branson shows will resume on Friday, November 25. Click here for complete information, schedules, pictures, or tickets on any of Branson’s great live shows.

9:00 am

IMAX Adventure Films

10:00 am

A Tribute to John Denver
Hughes Brothers

1:00 pm

A Neil Diamond Tribute
Bill Chrastil, The Many Performances of

2:00 pm

A Tribute to Marty Robbins
Cat’s Pajamas – Vocal Band
Christmas with the Lennon Sisters
The World Famous Platters Revue
Twelve Irish Tenors

3:00 pm

Acrobats of China
Amazing Pets
Legend of Kung Fu
Legends in Concert

4:00 pm

Showboat Branson Belle

5:00 pm

Comedy Hypnosis Dinner Show
George Strait Tribute
The Rat Pack – Live & Swingin
Yakov’s Dinner Adventure

5:15 pm

Christmas on the Trail

5:30 pm

Dixie Stampede

7:00 pm

Amazing Pets
Andy Williams Christmas
Motown Downtown
Top 10 Rock and Roll Revue

7:30 pm

Grand Jubilee
Pierce Arrow
Shoji Tabuchi

8:00 pm

A Christmas Snow
Chubby Checker
Clay Cooper’s Country Music ExpressDixie Stampede
Duttons
Hamner Barber Variety Show
Haygoods
Hollywood’s Christmas Spectacular
Jim Stafford
Kirby VanBurch
Legend of Kung Fu
Legends in Concert
Sanders Family Christmas
Tony Orlando Christmas
Untamed Illusions

From the wonders of Silver Dollar City’s An Old Time Christmas to an exciting “voyage” aboard the Titanic complete with live reindeer, most Branson attractions will be open not only on Thanksgiving Day, but throughout the whole weekend. In addition Branson’s two major drive – through Christmas Lighting displays, the Branson Area Festival of Lights and Shepherd of the Hills Trail of Lights will also be open for the enjoyment of Branson visitors..

With handmade gifts by the craftsmen at Silver Dollar City to the amazing assortment of unique and specialty stores in historic downtown Branson at places like Dick’s Old Time 5 & 10, Rosa’s Lost treasure Chest, the art work of outdoor artist Tom Crain and literally hundreds of other shops, and three major shopping malls, Branson provides a unique unrivaled shopping experience. Branson’s three major shopping malls Branson Landing, Factory Merchants and Tanger Outlets and will have special schedules for Thanksgiving Day and the Friday after Thanksgiving. Click here for their schedules and links to discount coupons and specials under the tab “November & Thanksgiving Weekend Shopping.”

Branson Tourism Center’s Johnson points out that from Thanksgiving through the middle of December is one of the busiest times of the year in Branson and suggests advance reservations for shows and lodging. For additional information on any of Branson’s shows, attractions activities or for lodging arrangements please feel free to contact the Branson Tourism Center (BTC), one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services by either calling their toll free number 1-800-785-1550 or through their website www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

Funny plus great vocals = Pierce Arrow

Pierce Arrow, Luke, left, Gary, Scott and Tim.

BRANSON, Mo. Either Jarrett Dougherty’s comedy or the great singing of Pierce Arrow alone is worth the price of the ticket, but put them both together with the singing of Desta and C.C. and you have one of the funniest and most musically filled entertainment values in Branson. From beginning to end it is easy to see why Pierce Arrow is one of the hottest shows in Branson.

During Ozark Mountain Christmas the show features their favorite comedy routines and music from their 2011 “regular season show” during the first half of the show. The second half of the show dedicated to Christmas.

From a comedy perspective, in this writer’s opinion, the ads for the show saying, “You want funny, we got funny” should read, “You want funny, we got very funny.” Whether he is “Floyd the Flusher” or his cousin “Chip,” Jarrett Dougherty is one of the funniest and most entertaining comedians in Branson and with the assistance of his straight man, Bobby Blackburn, who is also the band director will have you laughing consistently during the show.

Jarrett Dougherty a.k.a. "Floyd the Plumber" explaining origin of "Ring of Fire."

Dougherty’s comedy is artfully woven into the show throughout. Among other things, you will laugh your way through one of the funniest doctors visits you’ll ever hear about and learn new things such as when a man can never be considered as a complete failure and the “real” history behind how the Johnny Cash hit, “Ring of Fire” was written, but above all you will laugh, laugh and laugh some more.

The vocalist and instrumentalists of the Pierce Arrow show are the type of entertainers that add the meaning to the reason some people call Branson the “live music show capital of the world.” The “Pierce Arrow Band,” consisting of Bobby Blackburn, guitar; Colt Straub, piano; Randy McConnell, bass and Will Henderson, Drums did an excellent job.

The quartet “Pierce Arrow is composed of Luke Menard, its newest member; Gary Korebia; Tim Storms and Scott Fraker. From their opening number “Listen to the Music” to their last number “American Soldier,” whether singing individually as a featured singer or as a group, it is easy to understand why “Pierce Arrow” is one of Branson’s most popular singing groups. From among many memorable numbers this writer particularly enjoyed their version of “Southern Born” from their regular season show and “Thank God for Kids,” featuring Scott Fraker and “Mary Did You Know,” by Gary Korebia from the Christmas show.

Desta singing "Piece of My Heart."

The featured female vocalist is Desta who, among others, did a wonderful job on “Piece of My Heart.” Young Miss C. C. Day, a Branson Junior High School student did a nice job on the Taylor Swift song “Our Song.” Desta and C.C. really got the audience rocking with their duet of the “Jingle Bell Rock” during the Christmas portion of the show.

The shows closing patriotic segment was powerful in terms of its message and its presentation. The combination of Jarrett Dougherty’s narrative about an American Soldier and Pierce Arrow’s powerful and exciting performance of the song “American Soldier” was a beautiful ending to a great show.

This writer saw the afternoon show, but it should be pointed out that Pierce Arrow also performs an evening show which, although it has the same cast, is an entirely different show with different music and comedy. If you love great singing and music and want to laugh until you hurt don’t miss the Pierce Arrow Show.

For additional information or tickets for Pierce Arrow or any of Branson’s other shows and attractions or for lodging arrangements please contact the Branson Tourism Center (BTC), one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services. BTC can be reached by either calling their toll free number 1-800-785-1550 or through their website www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

Silver Dollar City’s “An Old Time Christmas” features “A Dickens’ Christmas Carol”

Scrooge and the "Ghost of Christmas Present" looking in on Cratchit's celebration of Christmas.

When one is planning a day at Silver Dollar City, they are not normally thinking of “shows,” they are generally thinking about rides, craft demonstrations and all of the fun activities that it offers on a daily basis. Here’s something that a lot of people don’t fully appreciate however, Silver Dollar City puts on some of the most unique, entertaining and best produced shows in Branson during the many world class Festivals it runs each year including, but not limited to shows as different and exciting as “The Fabulous Wallendas! Famous Family Circus,” during “KidsFest,”’ “Headin’ West” during the National Harvest Festival and, of course, “A Dickens’ Christmas Carol” as part of its “An Old Time Christmas” running through December 30.

After seeing “A Dickens’ Christmas Carol,” Tammy Johnson, the Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center said, “What a wonderful fantastic show. It is another example of the quality and breadth of the live shows that Branson offers its guests.”

Created specifically for Silver Dollar City, the 60 minute musical adaptation of the Dickens classic novel is not just a remarkable entertainment event, but a unique and special Christmas experience not available anywhere else. The “Christmas Carol” features an extremely talented cast, “a live band, astounding special effects, stunning Victorian scenery and exquisite period costuming.” That, combined with the spirit, energy and talent of the cast, brings the story of the skinflint Scrooge and his journey of change from “Humbug” to the true Christmas spirit to life in a dramtic, exciting and inspirational manner

“A Dickens’ Christmas Carol” is playing at the Opera House Theatre in Silver Dollar City and is included as part of your Silver Dollar City experience during its celebration of “An Old Time Christmas” through December 30. Although there are multiple performances scheduled each day, Branson Tourism Center’s Johnson suggests, because of the show’s popularity, other festival shows such as the “Living Nativity” and “Frosty” along with  everything else there is to do at Silver Dollar City, that those planning to see any of Silver Dollars City’s shows should plan accordingly. She also points out that those buying their Silver Dollar City tickets through Branson Tourism Center (BTC), one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services, get two full days at Silver Dollar City for the price of one.

For additional information or tickets for Silver Dollar City or any of Branson’s other shows and attractions or for lodging arrangements please contact BTC by either calling their toll free number 1-800-785-1550 or through their website www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

Ozark Mountain Christmas features “Acrobats of China” and “The Legend of Kung Fu”

One of the spectacular sets from The Legend of Kung Fu.

BRANSON, Mo. “Some might wonder what two shows from China could possibly have to do with Ozark Mountain Christmas,” said Tammy Johnson, the Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center. “At first blush, the answer might appear to be ‘Nothing’ because China does not celebrate the traditional American Christmas, but in reality,” she continues, “if the shows are the Acrobats of China or The Legend of Kung-Fu, the answer is, ‘Quite a bit.”

Johnson points out that while these shows do not celebrate the traditional American Christmas they celebrate and share the heritage and culture of China and offer Branson visitors yet another colorful, exciting and unique way to have fun in Branson during Ozark Mountain Christmas. These two shows, although similar in terms of being presented by some of the most skilled and amazing performers appearing on any Branson stage; excitement; pageantry; color and almost unbelievable choreography, each provide a unique and wonderfully different entertainment experience filled with action, color, skill, precision and presenting two entirely different aspects of China.

“The Legend of Kung Fu” is a beautiful, spectacular and colorful production telling the story about a very young boy who is dropped off at the temple by his mother and turned over to the “Master” for an apprenticeship as a monk while learning the art and culture of Kung Fu. It is a simple yet complex story from not only the aspect of the young boy, but his mother and the Master. It is a story told through spectacular sets, costuming, beautiful choreography and the artistic and skillful manner in which the cast performs.

The synchronized unicyclists are just one of the many exciting and colorful acts in the Acrobats of China.

While the “The Legend of Kung Fu” follows a story line and is based on the art and practice of Kung-Fu, “The Acrobats of China” is more of a “Chinese circus” atmosphere and has no story line. It is a circus without a Ringmaster that flows seamlessly from one amazing act to another. In a recent review of “The Acrobats of China” this writer again said, “The elegance, skill, grace and precision of the performers in each act is simply amazing. Couple that with excellent production, absolutely elegant costuming, and the choreographed and flawless presentation as each act seamlessly transitions into the next.”

Simply put, whether during Ozark Mountain Christmas or any other time of the year, there are no shows in Branson with more costuming, action, color, pageantry, precision, skill, grace, beauty, elegance and action throughout their entirety than in either the The Legend of Kung Fu or The Acrobats of China. For additional information or tickets for either of these shows or any of Branson’s other shows and attractions or for lodging arrangements please contact the Branson Tourism Center (BTC), one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services. BTC can be reached by either calling their toll free number 1-800-785-1550 or through their website www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

It wouldn’t be Ozark Mountain Christmas without Branson Christmas Shows

“Ozark Mountain Christmas or any other time of the year, Branson’s live shows are one of the primary elements that makes Branson the unique wonderful travel destination that it is,” said Tammy Johnson, the Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center. During Ozark Mountain Christmas there are a number of shows that are primarily Christmas productions and only available during that time.” she continued.

Some of the more popular of these “full” production Christmas shows are:

One of the many moments Shoji Tabuchi's Wonder of Christmas that the whole family will enjoy.

Shoji Tabuchi’s Wonder of Christmas – Long known, for not only the musical talent they bring to the stage, but the spectacular production show surrounding that talent, Shoji Tabuchi’s “Wonder of Christmas” is yet another example of just why that is so. From toy soldiers, flying angels and spectacular sets and colorful costuming to Christmas and holiday music ranging from the fun and revelry of a “Cajun Christmas” to the simple elegance of Shoji playing “Silent Night,” this show is a Christmas extravaganza in the finest Tabuchi Tradition.

The entire theatre is beautifully decorated for Christmas as is the stage, but it doesn’t stop there. Whether it’s the very talented Christina Tabuchi singing a beautiful Christmas love song in front of an elegantly decorated and lit Christmas Tree, the simple set used in the Christmas Chamber Music and Bell Choir segment, the amazing number of costume changes or the elegantly decorated main set, this show sets the bar in terms of Christmas production shows and truly has something in it for every member of the family.

The spectacle and wonder of the Sight and Sound's "Miracle of Christmas."

Miracle of Christmas – Sight and Sound’s spectacular Branson production The Miracle of Christmas uses drama, spectacular sets, music, and dance as it shares the story of the greatest miracle of all time and the true meaning of Christmas. From flying angels, camels, horses and other animals, to wise men, shepherds and action, it is a musical drama taking in the full length of the theatres 300 foot long surround stage. This show is one of the most spectacular things most people will ever experience on a stage in terms of production, grandeur, entertainment and scope. It’s amazing ending goes beyond the birth of the Christ Child and explains the precious gift He brought to us all. The Miracle of Christmas will be performing thorough December 31.

Andy Williams Christmas – Even though Andy is not performing as a regular part of the show, his influence on everything involved with the show from the costuming, sets, music, talent, choreography and spirit is obvious and for good reason; he conceived and produced the show. From the orchestras spectacular opening Christmas medley to the shows last number, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” this show is an exciting and beautiful testimony as to why that it so.

The show is a virtual Christmas Tree decorated with a variety of stars and an extremely talented cast of musicians, dancers and singers. Whether it’s a production number amidst a wintery skating scene, the simply beautiful job of singing “Silent Night” by Mike Cathcart or the performances of the shows other stars Bob Anderson, the “Lennon Sisters,” the “Lennon Brothers and Gail,” quick change artists and Adagio Dance Team, “Pasha & Aliona,” the fiddling of Dean or the singing of the Warnocks the result is a one of a kind Christmas show that should not be missed. The Andy Williams Christmas show will be performing through December 10.

Hollywood’s Christmas Spectacular – Created by the same Directors who created the Branson favorite “Spirit of Christmas” Hollywood’s Christmas Spectacular presents Christmas from the perspective of “Hollywood” and some of its amazing Christmas films. From the classic Christmas movie, “White Christmas” and many more, see the classic moments from some of Hollywood’s greatest Christmas movies on the screen as they are brought to life on stage by some of the best singers and dancers in Branson as they present the town’s “number one all-singing, all-dancing Hollywood Christmas Show.

It’s an amazing and unique Christmas experience for the whole family that is full of holiday fun and festive cheer with all of your favorite classic holiday songs, dazzling scenery, gorgeous colorful costuming and the “highest kicking chorus girls this side of the North Pole.” Hollywood’s Christmas Spectacular will be performing through December 10.

Dixie Stampede – Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede, celebrates Christmas as only it can. Oh, it still has its famous four course meal and all the action, excitement and fun of the “north” and “south” competition it is known for and its renowned equestrian acts, but with a special Christmas flavor. The servers change from the military type “north” and “south” uniforms into the “elf” uniforms as the “north” and “south” pole elfs compete against each other.

John Richardson, the Director of Marketing for Dixie Stamped said that its Christmas celebration includes a dramatic live Nativity Scene which shares the true meaning of Christmas in a spectacular fashion as it descends amid inspiring music, soaring angels, animals, the three kings riding their camels and spectacular pageantry. He also points out that their guests just love the “Magic of Toys” segment, set to the music of the “Nutcracker Suite” as the Sugar Plum Fairy soars from on high in a dazzling aerial performance magically bringing all the toys to life. This is truly a one of a kind Christmas show that will delight and hold the interest of every member of the family thoughout the whole show.

Tony Orlando’s Great American Christmas Show – Tony Orlando is a perennial Christmas favorite in Branson, but this year he is doing a new full production extravaganza “Tony Orlando’s Great American Christmas Show” from November 1 through December 9. From a musical perspective the show includes some his greatest hits such as “Candida”, “Knock Three Times,” “Tie a Yellow Ribbon” and “Sweet Gypsy Rose” and sings many of the songs that have become part of the fabric of Christmas in America. In addition, Tony, his band and cast tell the story of Tony’s first Christmas in the Ozarks and the special visitor he met as the show celebrates all that is great about the holiday season, and where Santa honors the true meaning of Christmas.

For additional information or tickets for any of the shows mentioned in this article or any of Branson’s other shows and attractions or for lodging arrangements please contact the Branson Tourism Center (BTC), one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services. BTC can be reached by either calling their toll free number 1-800-785-1550 or through their website www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

Branson’s Classic Motor Inn provides a unique “classic” lodging experience

Branson's Classic Motor Inn.

BRANSON, Mo. “Branson is known nationally not only for the quantity and quality of its attractions, live shows, shopping, natural attractions and other activities, but for its great value,” said Tammy Johnson, the Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center. “Nowhere is that value more evident than in the choice of lodging that is available to Branson’s guests. With over 22,000 rooms to chose from, there is a variety of accommodations and price to meet just about every need,” she continued.

Johnson points out that within those choices there are the well know chains as well as some that are family owned and operated. The Classic Motor Inn, located on Shepherd of the Hills Expressway, no pun intended is a classic example of one of Branson’s family owned and operated lodging establishments. The Morin’s, Real and Linda, own and operate the 62 room Inn which is conveniently located onthe Shepherd of the Hill Expressway about five minutes away from the center of Branson’s theatres, attractions, golfing, shopping and other activities and less than that to the Pierce Arrow Show, IMAX Complex, Hamner and Barber Variety Show and the Shoji Tabuchi Theatre.

When the Classic Motor Inn was built in 1992 the objective was to provide clean, comfortable and reasonably priced rooms. One of the aspects of that comfort was spaciousness and quietness. To do that the hotel rooms were not only built about two feet longer than the standard motel room at the time, but six inch walls, instead of four inch walls, were used between the rooms for increased quietness.

One of the Inn's spacious rooms/

Each of the spacious rooms has a comfortable seating area; a large bathroom vanity separate from the shower area; a hair dryer, iron, ironing board and other amenities as well as cable TV and internet access. The inn provides a free breakfast in the morning, snacks in the evening, 24 hour coffee and is known for the friendliness of its staff.

Recent comments made on the Lodging Forum of Branson’s largest message board, 1Branson.Com, by people who have recently stayed at the Inn indicate a very high level of satisfaction. On October 18, screen name “82corvette” said, “We stayed at the Classic for the first time this trip and were very satisfied. We stayed in a king room and it was very clean and comfortable. We especially enjoyed how quiet it is. The continental breakfast had the usual and also had biscuits & gravy. They offer cookies, donuts, & coffee free in the evening.” On the same day screen name “campbellmo” said, “I really enjoy the Classic Motor Inn. I was there last month and everybody was so nice. I never heard a peep out of my neighbors and the beds were real comfy. I would recommend them to anybody.”

Branson Tourism Center’s Johnson said that in addition to everything else, the hotel’s lobby and reception area is one of the most spacious and unique in Branson and is a classic car enthusiasts dream. She also points out that the already great value lodging provided by the Classic Motor Inn can be enhanced by packaging the lodging with the purchase of show and attraction tickets. For further information on the Classic Motor Inn or any of Branson’s shows and attractions or for lodging arrangements anywhere in Branson, please contact the Branson Tourism Center by either calling their toll free number 1-800-785-1550 or through their website www.BransonTourismCenter.com

Branson’s Veterans Homecoming Week, America’s largest Veterans Day Celebration, starts November 5

This sculpture in front of the Branson Veteran's Museum reminds visitors to Branson of America's Veterans as they travel up and down the Branson Strip.

BRANSON, Mo. “‘Branson’s Veterans Homecoming Week,’ Americas largest ‘Veterans Day celebration,’ starting on November 5 and running through November 11 is a special and exciting time for us in Branson,” said Tammy Johnson, the Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center “It gives us a special dedicated opportunity to honor Veterans, active duty Armed Forces personnel and their families that goes beyond the way they are honored routinely in Branson on a daily basis.

A schedule of events for “Branson’s Veterans Homecoming Week” follows below and is current as of October 28:

November 4, 2011

10:00 a.m. (1000) “Traveling Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall” ceremony at the Welk Theater.

November 5, 2011

7:00 a.m. (0700) Reveille at Factory Merchants Branson by the Dress Barn.

8:00 a.m. – 6 p.m. (0800 – 1800) Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall at the Welk Resort.

9:00 a.m. (0900) Veterans Registry, Tactical Operations Center and Veterans Village  at Factory Merchants Branson, 1000 Pat Nash Drive  Branson, MO. Please support our vendors. Closes at 1600 except Nov. 10 when it closes at 1500.

9:00 a.m. (0900) Day Room opens at Factory Merchants Branson. Don’t forget your acoustic instruments for jamming, visiting and games. Closes at 1800.

9:00 a.m. – 3 p.m. (0900 – 1500) “General Tommy Franks Traveling Road Show and Classroom, in a 60 foot long trailer, at the Branson Mall, 2206 W. Hwy76.

12:00 p.m. (1200) 571st Air Force Band Concert at Factory Merchants Branson along with A Tribute to Bob Hope and the USO

2:00 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. (1400 – 1615) “Patriotic Welcome to Veterans Homecoming” at the Branson Star Theatre, 3750 W. Hwy 76 behind the Olive Garden Restaurant.  Guest Speaker Todd Baker, author of the book “Bagdad ER, Fifteen Minutes”, performances by local entertainers and more. Open seating.

5:00 p.m. (1700) Retreat at Factory Merchants Branson by the Dress Barn.

5:30 p.m. (1730) 2nd Annual Branson West Veterans Parade and Flag Lighting Ceremony: 5:30 pm in Branson West

7:00 – 8:00 p.m. (1900 – 2000 hrs.) Candlelight Memorial Service for Lost Submarines will be held at the Lower Fountain at Branson Landing, Branson, MO.

7:00 p.m. (1900) The Showboat Branson Belle Salutes the Veterans with a special show and dinner for a special rate.

November 6, 2011

7:00 a.m. (0700) Reveille at Factory Merchants Branson by the Dress Barn.

8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. (0800 – 1800) Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall at the Welk Resort.

9:00 a.m. (0900) Veterans Registry, Tactical Operations Center and Veterans Village  at Factory Merchants Branson, 1000 Pat Nash Drive  Branson, MO. Please support our vendors. Closes at 1600

9:00 a.m. (0900) Day Room opens at Factory Merchants Branson. Don’t forget your acoustic instruments for jamming, visiting and games. Closes at 1800.

9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. (0900 – 1200) Veterans Sporting Clays Shoot at Ozark Shooters Sports Complex, 759 US Highway 65, North of Branson. For more information call: 417-230-2278. This shoot is for veterans only.

9:00 a.m. – 3 p.m. (0900- 1500) “General Tommy Franks Traveling Road Show and Classroom, in a 60 foot long trailer, at the Branson Mall, 2206 W. Hwy76.

11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. (1130 – 1300) “FREE” lunch to veterans and current serving military served at Factory Merchants Branson and a $4.00 donation for all others. Sponsored by Steve’s Tree House and Grill.

1:00 p.m. (1300) 22nd Annual Branson Motorcycle Toy Run sponsored by the VFW Post 5168 of Forsyth. Donations will benefit Taney County families. Meeting at Area 57, Dick Clark Theater, Hwy. 76, Branson with the “parade of motorcycles going to the VFW Post 5168 of Forsyth” being led by Santa. Dinner and music will be provided compliments of the VFW. For more information contact the VFW @ 417-546-5869 or 417–334-0775.

5:00 p.m. (1700) Retreat at Factory Merchants Branson by the Dress Barn.

November 7, 2011

7:00 a.m. (0700) Reveille at Factory Merchants Branson by the Dress Barn.

8:00 a.m. – 6 p.m. (0800 – 1800) Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall at the Welk Resort.

9:00 a.m. (0900) Veterans Registry, Tactical Operations Center and Veterans Village at Factory Merchants Branson, 1000 Pat Nash Drive, Branson, MO. Please support our vendors. Closes at 1600

9:00 a.m. (0900) Day Room opens at Factory Merchants Branson. Don’t forget your acoustic instruments for jamming, visiting and games. Closes at 1800.

9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. ( 0900 – 1200) Persian Gulf War Veterans Mini Reunion at Golden Corral on Shepherd of the Hills Expressway for those who served during Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo.  FREE breakfast will be provided in the Allen Edwards Show Room, speakers, entertainment, and drawing for door prizes. Hosted by Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 913, Branson, MO.  Please RSVP by calling 417-230-2278 or email: [email protected]

9:00 a.m. – 5 p.m. (0900 – 1700) Army Special Forces “A” Team from Ft. Campbell KY: 9am-5pm, Factory Merchants Branson.

11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. (1130 – 1300) “FREE” lunch to veterans and current serving military served at Factory Merchants Branson and a $4.00 donation for all others. Sponsored by Steve’s Tree House and Grill.

5:00 p.m. (1700) Retreat at Factory Merchants Branson by the Dress Barn.

November 8, 2011

7:00 a.m. (0700) Reveille at Factory Merchants Branson by the Dress Barn.

8:00 a.m. (0800) POW/MIA Service of Remembrance, Welk Resort Theatre.

8:00 a.m. – 6 p.m. (0800 – 1800) Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall at the Welk Resort.

9:00 a.m. (0900) Veterans Registry, Tactical Operations Center and Veterans Village  at Factory Merchants Branson, 1000 Pat Nash Drive, Branson, MO. Please support our vendors. Closes at 1600

9:00 a.m. (0900) Day Room opens at Factory Merchants Branson. Don’t forget your acoustic instruments for jamming, visiting and games. Closes at 1800.

9:00 a.m. (0900) Ozark Mountain Blue Star Mothers are hosting a Gold Star Mother and Blue Star Mother brunch at Steve’s Treehouse located at Stonebridge Village.  Any Gold Star Mother (mother who has lost her child in service to America) or Blue Star Mother (mother of a living veteran or current military soldier) is invited to attend. If you are planning to attend or have questions, please call Fran at 417-272-0630 or email: [email protected]

11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. (1130 – 1300) “FREE” lunch to veterans and current serving military served at Factory Merchants Branson and a $4.00 donation for all others. Sponsored by Steve’s Tree House and Grill.

12:00 p.m. (1200) United States Air Force Band of Mid-America Shades of Blue Jazz Ensemble Concert, Factory Merchants Branson.

2:00 p.m. – 5:00 pm (1400 -1700) Korean War Veterans Association Mini-Reunion, will be held at the Stone Castle Hotel & Conference Center 3050 Green Mountain Drive. This is for those who served during the Korean War. Speakers, entertainment, drawing for door prizes and refreshments. For more information call 417-230-2278 or email: [email protected]

5:00 p.m. (1700) Retreat at Factory Merchants Branson by the Dress Barn.

November 9, 2011

7:00 a.m. (0700) Reveille at Factory Merchants Branson by the Dress Barn.

8:00 a.m. – 6 p.m. (0800 – 1800) Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall at the Welk Resort.

8:00 a.m. (0800) FREE pancake breakfast for all Veterans/active duty personnel and their families at Tri-Lakes Christian Church 116 Pathway, behind Branson Jr. High School off Bee Creek Road.

9:00 a.m. (0900) Veterans Registry, Tactical Operations Center and Veterans Village  at Factory Merchants Branson, 1000 Pat Nash Drive Branson, MO. Please support our vendors. Closes at 1600

9:00 a.m. (0900) Day Room opens at Factory Merchants Branson. Don’t forget your acoustic instruments for jamming, visiting and games. Closes at 1800.

11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. (1100 – 1300) Women Veterans Rose Petal memorial and Women Veterans Appreciation Lunch, to honor women veterans who have died for their country will be held at the Stone Castle Hotel & Conference Center in the Drawbridge Room. Special guest speakers are Vickie Jones, Major Retired Army and Amy Bennett. Cost: $20.00 and reservations are required. Please call Barb Riggle 417-337-8387.

11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. (1130 – 1300) “FREE” lunch to veterans and current serving military served at Factory Merchants Branson and a $4.00 donation for all others. Sponsored by Steve’s Tree House and Grill.

4:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. (1000 – 2200) “4th Infantry Division Special Hospitality Room at Savannah House, 165 Expressway Lane.  Hosted by 4th Infantry Division Association for more information. Call 920-684-0147 or email: [email protected]

5:00 p.m. (1700) Retreat at Factory Merchants Branson by the Dress Barn.

5:00 p.m. (1730) 15th Annual Military Gala & Banquet, Saluting Strategic Air Command, will take place during Veterans Homecoming at Chateau on the Lake.  Call 866-481-GALA (4252) for more information.

5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. (1700 – 2000) “Women Veterans Mini Reunion” at Golden Corral on Shepherd of the Hills Expressway in the Allen Edwards Show room. FREE Dinner and show for women veterans and spouse or a friend. Speakers, entertainment, and drawing for door prizes.  Please RSVP by calling 417-230-2278 or email:[email protected]

November 10, 2011

7:00 a.m. (0700) Reveille at Factory Merchants Branson by the Dress Barn.

8:00 a.m. – 6 p.m. (0800 – 1800) Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall at the Welk Resort.

9:00 a.m. (0900) Veterans Registry, Tactical Operations Center and Veterans Village  at Factory Merchants Branson, 1000 Pat Nash Drive, Branson, MO. Please support our vendors. Closes at 1600

10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. (1000-1300) Wal-Mart Tribute to Veterans.  The Wal-Mart Super Center at 1101 Branson Hills Parkway in association with Branson Veterans Events and Reunions will pay tribute to Veterans.  A ceremony, entertainment, refreshments and BBQ will be provided for the veterans.  All veterans in attendance will receive a lapel pin.  For more information call 417-230-2278 or email: [email protected]

11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. (1130 – 1300) “FREE” lunch to veterans and current serving military served at Factory Merchants Branson and a $4.00 donation for all others. Sponsored by Steve’s Tree House and Grill.

2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. (1400 – 1700) Vietnam Veterans Mini Reunion will be held at Camden Hotel and Conference Center, 275 Tanger Blvd, Branson.  Sponsored by Gatherings Plus, for more information call 417-338-4048.

2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. (1400 – 1700) WWII Mini Reunion will be held at the Keeter Center on the campus of the College of the Ozarks.

5:00 p.m. (1700) Retreat at Factory Merchants Branson by the Dress Barn.

5:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. (1700 – 2300) The Few, The Proud, The United States 236th Marine Corps Birthday Ball Open to all U.S Marines, Veterans and the general public. For more information call 800-569-3493.

November11, 2011

11:00 a.m. (1100) 78th annual Veterans Day Parade is sponsored by the American Legion Post 220 and goes through downtown Branson. For parade information contact the American Legion Post 220 at 417-334-2296.

2:00 p.m. (1400) Tony Orlando’s Yellow Ribbon salute will be held at the Welk Resort Branson. Free Admission for Veterans and one (1) Guest. (Reservations Recommended) 800-505-9355.

Branson Tourism Center’s Johnson points out that Veterans Homecoming will take place during Ozark Mountain Christmas and all the special shows, drive through lighting displays and other activities associated with it which runs from November 1 through December 31. For further information on Branson’s Veterans Homecoming Week, Ozark Mountain Christmas or additional information or tickets for any of Branson’s shows and attractions or for lodging arrangements, please feel free to contact the Branson Tourism Center by either calling their toll free number 1-800-785-1550 for free personal assistance or through their website www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

Opportunities for kids in Branson to have a safe fun filled “BOO-tastic” Halloween

Jack O' Lanterns, costumes and trick or treating are all part of Halloween.

“From Hollister’s ”BooBash’ to the city of Branson’s ‘BOOnanza,’ and other events, the kids of locals and visitors alike will have an opportunity to have a safe fun filled Halloween in Branson,” said Stephanie Milton, Director of Special Events for the Branson Tourism Center. She said that the Branson area provides a number of opportunities for children to dress up in costumes, “trick-or-treat,” and have fun safely as they celebrate Halloween.

One of the area’s longest running events is Hollister’s Ninth Annual “Boo Bash” which will be held on Friday, October 28 from 5:30-8 p.m. at the Ozark Mountain Family YMCA, 175 Industrial Drive, Hollister, Missouri. The event is free, open to the public and will feature a hayride; face painting; Halloween Carnival Games, with candy as prizes; a costume contest and the big candy event, the “Trunk-n-Treat” walk featuring decorated cars with candy being dispensed from their trunks. For additional information on the event please call 417-337-9622.

The city of Branson’s “BOOnanza” will be held on Saturday, October 29 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Branson City RecPlex, 1500 Branson Hills Parkway, Branson, Missouri. BOOnanza is for children 12 and under who will be able to enjoy activities such as a ride through the haunted trail on a hayride, a trip through a “trick or treat” maze, carving a pumpkin, jumping inflatables, showing off their costume in the costume contest, hot chocolate, or enjoying some cotton candy or a bag of popcorn. Access to the events is through a purchased punch card available at the BOOnanza for a cost of $2.00 per child, which lets them pick their choice of five out of the seven activities. For additional information please call 417-335-2368.

Branson Landing will hold its “5th Annual Safe Street Trick or Treat” on Monday October 31 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Branson Landing Mall, 100 Branson Landing Boulevard. This free event is exclusively for children up to age 12 in costumes providing them the opportunity to “trick or treat” on Branson Landing’s “Trick or Treat Street,” the Branson Landing Promenade. Children may go into any participating businesses, all of which will have a Halloween sign indicating their participation, for their treats. Please call 417-239-3002 for additional information.

Factory Merchants Branson, will hold a “Halloween Trick-Or-Treat Off The Street Event” on Monday, October 31 from 5 to 7 p.m. at both the “Red Roofed Mall,” 1000 Pat Nash Drive and “The Shoppes At Branson Meadows” 4562 Gretna Road in Branson, Missouri. Kids in costume, 12 and under, may trick or treat throughout the malls at participating stores who will be displaying “smiling pumpkin.” signs on their doorways. For further information please call 417-335-6686.

Tanger Outlet will hold its “TangerStyle or Treat” on Monday October 31 from 5 to 7 p.m. at 300 Tanger Boulevard, Branson Missouri. Kids 12 and under may trick or treat throughout the mall at participating stores who will be displaying purple “trick or treat” signs on their doors for as long as their supply of candy lasts. Some stores will also have “”TangerStyle” coupons for the adults. For additional information please call 417-337-9328.

“Only in Branson, Missouri can you celebrate a family Halloween with the unique combination of Fall in the Ozarks, live shows, shopping, attractions and dozens of other fun filled activities as well as have the kids celebrate Halloween safely at a ‘BooBash,’ ‘BOOnanza’ or one of the many other safe Halloween alternative events that are available,” said Milton. For further information on any of these Halloween events it is recommend that you call the number indicated for the specific event. For information or tickets for any of Branson’s shows and attractions or for lodging arrangements please feel free to contact the Branson Tourism Center (BTC), one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services at their toll free number 1-800-785-1550 or through their website www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

Yakov’s Christmas Dinner Adventure is food, fun, and excitement

Chef Garcia, Andre and Stephanie Milton, BTC's Director of Special Events, give a thumbs up during their visit..

BRANSON, Mo. One of the stars of Yakov’s Dinner Adventure, “Andre the Clown,” along with Chef Ponciano Garcia, from Yakov’s Theatre visited the Branson Tourism Center (BTC) on October 21. They visited with guests in the Welcome Center Lobby and BTC personnel and Andre, to the delight of everyone, entertained with a sample of his juggling. They also brought samples of the tasty desserts they serve as part of the dinner at the show.

Chef Garcia said, “We prepare every meal served at the show in the theatre.” He went on to say that the theatre is capable of preparing and serving up to 1800 fresh hot meals per show. He also said that they were putting the finishing touches on a traditional Christmas meal that will be served in conjunction with the Yakov’s Christmas Dinner Adventure.

Andre said that the shows fairy tale story line of relationships, love between sisters, young love found, betrayal, redemption, and, as would be expected in a fairy tale, its happy fairy tale ending will be presented as a wonderful heartwarming Christmas story, entitled, Yakov’s Christmas Dinner Adventure starting November 1. As the story unfolds, it will be artfully woven around a Christmas theme and the color, excitement and adventure of a Russian Circus providing constant action, color, variety and exciting entertainment for the whole family.

In addition to Yakov’s Christmas Dinner Adventure which starts at 5 p.m. from November 1 through December 11, America’s favorite Russian comedian, Yakov Smirnoff will be presenting his Christmas show at the theatre at 2 p.m. For additional information or tickets for either of these shows or any of Branson’s other shows and attractions or for lodging arrangements please contact the Branson Tourism Center (BTC), one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services. BTC can be reached by either calling their toll free number 1-800-785-1550 or through their website www.BransonTourismCenter.com.