Category Archives: Branson Businesses

Did you know about these exciting things going on in Branson in 2017?

Showboat Branson Belle features new 2017 noon show, “Country On The Lake.”

“There’s always fun and excitement in Branson,” said Annette Wood, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. “Branson is constantly adding something new and fresh. There’s always a reason to comeback to Branson! Why would anyone go anywhere else, but Branson for a vacation or a get away?”

From celebrating Branson entertainment milestones, to new festivals, shows and attractions there’s an adventure for everyone in Branson to enjoy during 2017. Here’s some of the highlights:

Silver Dollar City’s The Festival of Wonder: Its new Festival of Wonder promises “A most Amazing Entertainment Experience!” The “all-new festival presents amazing acts of curiosity and larger-than-life performances. See The Earth Harp Collective, featuring the world’s largest playable stringed instrument; the Glass Armonica showcasing “one of the world’s largest instruments made of glassware;” and much more. Festival activities are in addition to everything else the award winning 1880s-styled theme park offers daily.

Milestone Show Performances: 2017 presents a unique opportunity to celebrate and become part of Branson’s history. Presleys’ Country Jubilee and the Presley family celebrates their 50th year performing in Branson. They have been in the same location since June 30, 1967. The Haygoods are celebrating 25 years of entertaining Branson audiences with an all-new show in 2017. The five Haygood brothers and their sister first performed for Branson audiences in 1992 at Silver Dollar City.

Raiding the Country Vault: Opening for its first full Branson season in 2017, six words sum up this show up, “It will blow your socks off!” Devoted to traditional country music, it is an extremely well-produced show, presented by a cast who are not only masters at their craft, but obviously have a love and enthusiasm for the music they are performing.

Raiding the Rock Vault: The producers of Raiding the Country Vault are bringing their hit Las Vegas show, Raiding the Rock Vault, to Branson for a limited engagement appearance July 6 through July 22.

Miracle of Christmas Returns to Sight and Sound: Sight and Sound’s spectacular biblical epic, Miracle of Christmas returns to Branson for the Christmas season from November 4 through December 30. Experience the story of the Nativity and Christmas as it comes to life with high drama, awe-inspiring special effects and live animals. See the true meaning of Christmas unfold right before your eyes!

Dreams – A Classic Rock Fantasy: In its first full season in Branson, this show is sure to provide one of the most intimate nights of high energy classic rock entertainment in Branson. Classic rock fans will love the way Stevie Nicks, Rod Stewart and Mick Jagger “come alive” in this powerhouse of sound woven into the story of a father’s “Steampunk dream.”

Showboat Branson Belle’s Country On The Lake: Starting Memorial Day Weekend, the Branson Belle will have a new noon concert cruise. “Country On The Lake is designed as a concert cruise, featuring multi-talented rising country stars performing #1 hits from yesterday’s classic rock to country favorites of today, backed by a live band,” said Nick Guevel, Operations Director for the Showboat Branson Belle. “We’ll include tributes to country stars of the ’90s with songs by stars such as Garth Brooks and Faith Hill, plus many of classic rock’s most memorable songs.” The show’s meal will include slow-smoked pork prepared by the pit master at Silver Dollar City and delivered to the Showboat every morning and desserts prepared by the Silver Dollar City bakers.

Rhonda Vincent, Neal McCoy, Loretta Lynn, Jimmy Fortune, and the Oak Ridge Boys are just a few of the touring national stars appearing in Branson during 2017!

Touring Stars performing 2017 Limited Engagements: Many touring stars will perform Limited Engagement shows in Branson during the year. Here’s the list with links to add scheduling and ticket information, as of February 11:

America: Oct 8
Hallmark Presents Maxine’s Christmas Carol: Nov 1-Dec 16
Loretta Lynn: Oct 14-15
Neil Sedaka: Oct 21
Paul Anka: Nov 12
Tanya Tucker: Sep 16
Bill Anderson & Moe Bandy: Jun 23
Boot Daddy Presents Gene Watson: Apr 19-20
Boot Daddy Presents Jimmy Fortune: Oct 17-18, Nov 11-12
Branson Music Fest: Apr 21-22
Charley Pride: Sep 29
Country Unplugged Tour: Nov 8
Daniel O’Donnell: Oct 30-Nov 18*
Herman’s Hermits Starring Peter Noone, & B.J. Thomas: Oct 6-7
John Conlee: Jun 7
Johnny Mathis with Gary Mule Deer: Nov 17-18
Kris Kristofferson: Apr 7
Larry Gatlin & the Gatlin Brothers: Nov 1 & 15
Larry’s Country Diner-T. Graham Brown: May 1 & Sep 18
Larry’s Country Diner-Mo and Holly Pitney: May 4
Larry’s Country Diner-Mark Wills: May 5
Larry’s Country Diner-Gene Watson: May 3 & Sep 20
Larry’s Country Diner-Jimmy Fortune: May 2 & Sep 21
Larry’s Country Diner-Rhonda Vincent: Sep 19
Larry’s Country Diner-The Isaacs: Sep 22
Menopause The Musical: May 18-21
Neal McCoy: Nov 1-16*
Oak Ridge Boys: Apr 21-22, Sep 20-21, Oct 4-31 & Nov 1-16*
Raiding the Rock Vault: July 6-22Richie McDonald: Aug 13
Ricky Nelson Remembered: Apr 12
Roots and Boots Tour starring Pam Tillis, Sammy Kershaw and Collin Raye: Oct 13
Sister Sledge: Jul 7

T. G. Sheppard & Kelly Lang: Jul 5
The Bellamy Brothers: May 31
Titanic Dance: Nov 1-12*
Trace Adkins: Jun 30
Ultimate Elvis Tribute Contest: Apr 8
Vicki Lawrence and Mama: May 14

White Water’s New Interactive Kids’ Play Area: The new half-million dollar kids’ play area has been added to the “Coconut Cove” section of White Water. Designed for the smaller kids the area has five slides, four water blasters, “bubbler” fountains, hose jets, tipping buckets and more.

The History of Fishing Museum: If you are a fisherman, this is a must see! Opening for its first full season in Branson in 2017, the museum has more than 40,000 pieces, valued at nearly $5 million. It showcases the private collection of Karl & Beverly White including lures, rods, reels, boats, motors, and everything else having to do with sport fishing. The museum’s collection covers everything that is “collectible.” It includes many “firsts” such as the first Skeeter bass boat to come off the line.

Titanic Museum Attraction’s “Titanic Movie Gallery:” To honor the 20th Anniversary of James Cameron’s iconic movie “Titanic,” the museum has a has a new “Titanic Movie Gallery.” It showcases many never seen before items from the movie including costumes, set pieces, props, signed scripts, and more. This is a limited engagement from March 12-June 11.

Main Street Lakes Cruises’ Scenic and Dinner Cruises: This will be the first full year operating in its new easy access location at 9 South Boardwalk at Branson Landing. Its new prime location, along the shoreline of the Bass Pro Parking lot provides drive-up parking and immediate level access to the main entrance from a flat parking lot. Main Street Lake Cruises offers Lake Taneycomo sightseeing and dinner cruises aboard its two vessels, the 140 passenger riverboat replica Lake Queen, and the 100-foot luxury yacht, the Landing Princess.

“And this is just the middle of February!” said Wood. For more information, call the Branson Tourism Center at 1-800-785-1550. For planning the ideal trip to Branson, “One call can take care of it all.” A Branson based Travel Planner will answer any questions about Branson, help with reservations, and getting the best available show seats and lodging. There is no charge for this service and they are available daily, except Christmas Day, from 9:00 AM to 8.00 PM.

* Please check linked schedules for exact dates, ticketing, and pricing.

5 reasons to share Branson with Mom on “her day”

A relaxing and entertaining cruise aboard the Showboat Branson Belle is just one of the many ways Branson has to show Mom how special she is.

Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 10. Many Moms share Branson with their families and children every day simply because it is a great place their families to relax, have fun, be entertained and establish memories that can last a lifetime. Some of the same reasons Moms pick Branson for their families, with more of emphasis on the “Mom” aspects, makes it a wonderful place to bring Mom on “her day.”

There is just something extra special about honoring Mom in Branson and being surrounded by its “America’s hometown” spirit. Here’s five reasons why Mom might love to spend Mother’s Day in Branson:

1.  Special Mother’s Day Brunch – Although many Branson restaurants and buffets will be having special Mother’s Day offerings, the Mother’s Day Brunches offered at Chateau on the Lake and the College of the Ozark’s Keeter Center have become a special Mother’s day tradition that is truly a special way to make her the center of attention and say “Thanks” for all she does for the family every day.

2.  Showboat Branson Belle – Give Mom the gift of food, fun, entertainment and the scenic beauty of the Ozarks with a cruise on Table Rock Lake aboard the Showboat Branson Belle. In addition to its dinner, all prepared aboard the boat, Mom will be treated to the “Celebrate Blue,” show featuring “Rhythm,” a new four-man dance troupe with the fastest feet west of the Mississippi, one of Branson’s favorite lovely ladies of song, Cassandré Faimon-Haygood, the ShowMen and a live band all hosted by Christopher James, a gifted magician with an unbeatable sense of humor.

3.  Mother’s Day Jazz Concert at Branson Landing Fountains – The Blue Springs High School Jazz Band will present a jazz concert at the Branson Landing Fountains in conjunction with the noon performance of the $7.5 million Fountain Show featuring “the first-ever merging of water, fire, light and music” with its dazzling interplay of Water Fountains shooting 120-foot geysers and fire cannons blasting, all choreographed to light and music.”

4. Shopping – From the nostalgic and unique shopping offered by “Dicks 5 & 10” in historic downtown Branson to the great shopping offered at Branson Landing, Tanger Outlets, The Shoppes at Branson Meadows and dozens of other retail and specialty stores, Mom will be able to “shop until she drops.” OK, we know it, she can have a great shopping experience in Branson anytime, but it’s kind of “extra special” on Mother’s Day.

5. Branson Shows – From the Acrobats of China, to Clay Cooper’s Country Express, Shoji Tabuchi, Mickey Gilley, Legends in Concert, Puttin’ on the Ritz, New Jersey Nights and many more of Branson’s most popular shows will be open to help celebrate Mother’s Day.

“The majority of Branson’s attractions, including the Titanic Museum Attraction and Silver Dollar City, which will be in the midst of celebrating its Bluegrass & BBQ Festival will be open not only on Mother’s Day, but the entire Mother’s Day Weekend,” said Annette Wood, the Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. She also points out that there are special saving available by bundling shows, attractions and lodging together in packages like the Mother’s Day Package with lodging at the Welk Resort, choice of shows, dining and more..

For additional information on what’s going on in Branson on Mother’s Day or any of Branson’s shows, attractions or lodging please feel free to contact the Branson Tourism Center by calling 1-800-785-1550 or through its website, .

Great way to start a fun filled Branson Experience

A dinner cruise aboard Main Street Lake Cruises' 100 foot luxury yacht, the "Landing Princess," on beautiful Lake Taneycomo was just one of the many activities Neal enjoyed while in Branson.

BRANSON, Mo., September 4, 2013 – “The [Branson] Tourism Center is the perfect place for one stop shopping for all attractions and shows. We got great customer service with attention to details for our likes and needs. Pricing was very affordable and our welcome was warm and genuine. Their web site is laid out for easy browsing and I strongly suggest advance booking because when you arrive at the center to pick up your package, everything is in order and ready so you can get started on your exciting and fun filled experience right away!!!,” said Annette Neal from Desoto, Texas about her recent trip to Branson which was arranged through the services of the Branson Tourism Center (BTC). Neal made the unsolicited comment on Branson Tourism Center’s Facebook Page.

“We so appreciate that Annette took the time to comment and was so pleased with our service,” said Tammy Johnson, the Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center. “She summarized our primary purpose for being in business, ‘Helping people have a great Branson experience,'” she continued.

That “experience” starts well before anyone sets foot in Branson. For many, it starts while they are sitting in their living room thinking about whether or not they should pick Branson as their vacation destination, wondering about what Branson has to offer, where to stay and what to see and do. In many vacation destinations a person is left on their own to ferret out the information on their own through the internet or other sources and there is no convenient immediate resource available to answer questions or assist in making sure that the lodging, shows, attractions and other activities they select meet their specific “likes and needs.”

That is not the case in Branson! In addition to its website, WWW.BransonTourismCenter.Com, the Branson Tourism Center provides free personal “concierge” type planning services with one of its Branson based “Vacation Planning Specialists” through a toll free phone call to 1-800-785-1550. They are available seven days a week, except Christmas Day, from 8:00 AM – 9:30 PM (CST) and provide a one stop resource not only for information on Branson, but the purchase of show and attraction tickets and lodging if desired.

“Our success as a business directly hinges on the experience that our customers have with us,” Johnson said. “We could go on about the fact that BTC is in its 11th year of business, has sold over 3 million Branson show and attraction tickets and has an A+ Better Business Bureau (BBB) Accreditation, but what is really important is the relationships that we build with customers like Annette and the privilege of helping them have a great experience in one of the most unique and fun filled vacation destinations anywhere, Branson, Missouri.”


Historic Downtown Branson presents a unique shopping opportunity

Dick's 5 & 10 in historic downtown Branson provides one of the most unique shopping "adventures" available anywhere.

BRANSON, Mo., October 18, 2012 — Branson is called the “Live music show capital of world” because of the number and quality of its live shows, but it is also a shopper’s dream. From small specialty shops to the $400 million Branson Landing, located on the shores of beautiful Lake Taneycomo, with its 100 specialty retail stores, shops and services, Branson offers one of the broadest selections of stores, values and merchandise available in any travel destination of a similar size..

Interestingly, as thousands of people each day go to Branson Landing they either drive through or around Historic Downtown Branson and some of the most best and easily accessed shopping opportunities in Branson. Cris Bohinc, executive director of the Downtown Branson Main Street Association points out that the Historic District has about 80 specialty retail stores, shops and services. She said, “If people want a great selection, unique specialty items and a great value, all offered in a comfortable laid back down home environment, Historic Downtown Branson is a place that should be on their ‘Branson Shopping Bucket List.'”

“Dick’s 5 & 10,” one of Branson’s most popular shopping attractions and easily the anchor of Historic Downtown Branson’s shopping, illustrates the uniqueness and excitement that shopping in downtown Branson offers. Steve Hartley, the son of the stores original founders, Dick and June Hartley, points out that it’s not just the number of items they have in the nostalgic “5 & 10,” over 175,000, or their low prices, it’s the breadth of their selection that makes the shopping experience in Dick’s so unique. He said, “In candy alone we have one of, if not, the largest selections of candy in Branson. We specialize in Old Time and hard to find candies such as ‘Rocky Road,’ ‘Big Hunk Candy Bars,’ and ‘Abba-Zaba;’ novelty candies such as ‘Wax Lips’ and ‘Nickle Nips’ and a full selection of regular candy.”

There is a local saying, “”If you can’t find what you want in Dick’s then you don’t need it.” When asked about the saying in connection with the celebration of Dick’s 50 Anniversary Hartley said, “Well, we do have over 175,000 items, from basics, toys, novelties, gifts, souvenirs and just about anything most people would expect in a variety store and more.”

Another unique downtown experience, is available at “Crain Creations Gallery” located at 214 S. Main Street just a few doors west of Dicks. T.(Tom) Morgan Crain, is Branson’s preeminent wildlife, bird, western, outdoor and nostalgia painter who can be found painting, most Mondays through Saturdays, in his downtown studio, located just inside the window of the gallery. The gallery and studio, are as warm, comfortable and inviting as are the artist and his wife Susan.

The Burlington Annex is another store featuring artist and gift lines that are unique and not available anywhere else in Branson. Its wide selection of unique gifts, glassware and jewelry coupled with the expertise, friendliness and helpfulness of their employees make shopping at the Burlington Annex a special shopping experience only available in downtown Branson.

The “Hollywood Studio Store & More” located at 109 S Commercial Street is yet another example of the unique and fun filled shopping experience available in the historic downtown shopping district. Its selection of Hollywood collectibles, jewelry, gifts, art glass, wind chimes, and much more is as phenomenal and interesting as it is value priced.

“Branson is filled with so much great shopping,” said Tammy Johnson, the Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center, one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services, “but these and the dozens of other stores in the downtown shopping district, coupled with the ambiance, variety and uniqueness of the shopping they offer creates and exciting, unusual one of a kind shopping experience.” For additional information on downtown Branson’s shopping and everything else it has to offer please call either the Branson Tourism Center at 1-800-785-1550 or the Downtown Branson Main Street Association at 866-523-1190.

Virtually “new” Branson Hilton Convention Center Hotel reopens

Entrance of Branson Hilton Convention Center Hotel on September 19, 2012.

BRANSON, Mo., September 19, 2012 — The tornado that hit the iconic 12 story Branson Hilton Convention Center Hotel in the early morning hours of Feb. 29 took only seconds to do its devastating work. It has taken six and a half months of hard work, effort and planning and millions of dollars, but it is now reopened and welcoming guests to a virtually ‘new’ facility. “We’re pleased that we are able to open the first eight floors of the hotel a couple of weeks early and will have the entire hotel open by the end of the month,” said Bill Derbins, General Manager of the hotel.

Derbins estimates that the total damage to the hotel from the EF2 tornado was approximately $20 million dollars. In addition to other damage, shards of glass, driven by the twister’s winds, permeated every foot of carpeting, beds, furniture, furnishings, drapes and just about everything else they came in contact with requiring replacement. Along with other repairs, the hotel’s roof had to be replaced as well as 3,400 windows.

Derbins points out that not only were repairs made, but, as they were made, many improvements were added such as high energy efficient window replacements for each of the 3,400 windows blown out in the storm and new thermostats in each room that sense when the room is no longer occupied and returns it to a pre-set level to save energy. He is particularly pleased with the guest rooms in the hotel. He said that 220 of them are completely new and that all of them, as would be expected in a Hilton property, are extremely comfortable and beautifully decorated.

He said that the hotel’s restaurant, the “Level 2 Steak House,” noted for its fine dining, has reopened in its former location. It had been temporarily relocated to the Hilton Promenade Hotel at Branson Landing while the hotel was closed for repairs.

Derbins said, “It’s great to see our award winning staff back at work and serving our guests.” He says that in Group Nights alone, the hotel has 4,500 room nights booked in October and that doesn’t include “transient,” walk-in,guests. He summed it up by saying, “We’re glad to be back, doing what we do best, serving our guests and giving them the best lodging experience possible.”

“The ‘AAA Four Diamond Ranking’ of the Branson Hilton Convention Center Hotel, achieved by only ‘4.8 percent of the 31,000 lodgings approved by AAA,’ and which only one other Branson hotel has, indicates the quality and level of service guests can expect at the hotel,” said Tammy Johnson, the Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center. “We congratulate the staff and all those involved for their efforts in getting the hotel reopened as quickly as they did and are delighted that they are again open providing Branson visitors with the premium lodging experience “Hilton” is famous for.”

Is it time to revisit Branson memories make new ones?

Dick's 5 & 10 in historic downtown Branson provides one of the most unique shopping "adventures" available anywhere.

BRANSON, Mo., July 14, 2012 — During the celebration of the selling of the Branson Tourism Center’s three millionth show and attractions ticket earlier this Spring, Eddie and Peggy Barthel from Florence, Mississippi, the purchasers of the ticket said that it has been 30 years since they had been to Branson. That started me thinking, how many other people out there have been away from Branson and, hopefully, its fond memories, for far too long?

For most, those memories would include a trip to Branson’s oldest and most popular paid attraction, the award winning 1880s style theme park, Silver Dollar City. It’s hard to forget this Ozark Mountain treasure with its natural beauty, Marvel Cave, demonstrating craftsmen, rides and so much more. Oh, sure the rides, shows, festivals and food services have grown and expanded, but all within the framework of what has made Silver Dollar City the special place that created “Memories worth repeating” for tens of millions of its guests. Isn’t it time to return to Silver Dollar City to repeat some or those memories and make new ones?

Like many, one of my first memories of Branson was the Shepherd of the Hills Outdoor Play conducted amidst the beauty of the very area where it took place and inside the magnificent Shepherd of the of the Hills Outdoor Theatre. The memory and spectacle of that performance, as 80 actors and actresses, 40 horses, a flock of sheep, several guns and rifles, and the actual burning log cabin, ” brought Harold Bell Wright’s novel, “The Shepherd of the Hills,” to life has never been forgotten. That story is still retold today as it was then and shares the love, hardships, history and heritage of the Ozarks in a spectacular and inspiring way. Isn’t it time to experience this epic inspiring drama again or share it with someone you love.

The natural beauty of the Ozarks and its two closest lakes, Table Rock Lake and Lake Taneycomo are a major part of many people’s memories of Branson. Whether it was boating, swimming, fishing or some other activity in one of Branson’s lakes or the constantly changing beauty of the surrounding Ozark Hills, it’s still here and is basically the same as it has been for the last 50 years. A major change would be the Lake Taneycomo lakefront where the magnificent Branson Landing has replaced the old waterfront with a spectacular shopping, dining and entertainment experience.

Even here however, memories of the past remain. Although most of the Trout fishing docks are gone, Scotty’s Tout Dock and Marina has just been moved upstream, to the south end of the city’s Lake Side RV Park. Many have pleasant memories of riding on Lake Taneycomo aboard the Lake Queen, a paddle boat replica from Branson’s riverfront past. Those memories may be relived on a daily basis as the Main Street Lake Cruises Lake Queen departs daily from the Main Street Marina in Branson Landing. Her sister ship, the Landing Princess, a 100 foot luxury yacht offering dinner and other cruises, provides even more opportunities to experience Lake Taneycomo.

Many will remember wonderful times shared eating in one of historic Branson’s downtown cafes such as the Branson Cafe, Farmhouse, Clockers or the Shack. Those special memories may be relieved and shared with new generations as, on a daily basis, these same “hometown cafes” offer the same Ozarks hospitality and down home cooking they have offered for decades.

Shopping has always been an inherent part of the Branson experience. Before the major outlet malls and Branson Landing most shopping was done in Branson’s specialty shops and stores. As great as the addition of the outlet malls and Branson Landing is, from Dick’s 5 & `10 and the dozens of small specialty shops in historic downtown Branson to specialty shops of every variety located all over Branson, shopping in Branson is a unique experience that is yet another reason to come back to Branson.

If you have been to Branson before and haven’t been back in a while, isn’t it time to come back to revisit some of those fond memories and make new ones?

Branson Tourism Center celebrates 3 million ticket milestone

Peggy and Eddie Barthel, purchasers of BTC's 3 millionth ticket, just after hundreds of balloons fell and they discovered that they were the center of the celebration,

BRANSON, Mo., May 24, 2012 — When Eddie and Peggy Barthel of Florence, MS walked up to check in for their five night six day Branson vacation in the lobby of the Branson Tourism Center on the afternoon of May 24 they knew something special was going on when hundreds of blue and white balloons cascaded down from the ceiling around them and everyone in the lobby started applauding and celebrating. As they were greeted by Lianne Milton, the owner of BTC and the cast of one of the most popular shows in Branson and the first show on their itinerary, SIX, the Barthels discovered that they had purchased the 3 millionth Branson show and attraction ticket sold by the Branson Tourism Center (BTC).

BTC typically sells tickets, lodging and other Branson travel services and makes customers reservations well in advance of their actual arrival in Branson. “The Barthels became the lucky 3 millionth ticket customer when they placed their order on May 8, but it had been a closely guarded secret until their check in at BTC today,” said Brian Milton, the CFO of BTC.

When asked if they were surprised, Peggy said, “Absolutely…it was awesome” while Eddie said, “Most definitely.” It became even a bigger surprise for them when they found out that in celebration of their being the 3 millionth BTC ticket purchaser that, among other prizes, their entire six day, five night Branson vacation was being paid for by BTC as well as a two hour private charter on Main Street Lake Cruises’ “Branson Princess,” luxury yacht, for them and 100 of their friends and guests, on a future trip to Branson. While in Branson on this trip, the Barthels are staying at the LaQuinta Inn – Music City Centre and, among other things, their itinerary includes SIX, The Showboat Branson Belle, Branson Scenic Railway, and Silver Dollar City.

Eddie and Peggy Barthel, purchasers of BTC's 3 millionth ticket, center, with BTC owners Lianne and Larry Milton on either side,

Lianne Milton, the owners of BTC said, “The sale of our 3 millionth ticket means a lot to me personally because it represents the achievement of a milestone in our efforts to market the shows, attractions, lodging and other activities of our vendors and in sharing the Branson experience with over 940,000 people.” She attributes the success of BTC to the commitment and passion of its employees to sharing Branson and all that it has to offer with prospective visitors and in following the simple concept of , “If it’s important to you, it’s important to me” in making sure that every Branson Tourism Center customer has a great Branson experience and will want to return.

She continues by pointing out that the vast majority of the 3 million tickets that BTC has sold, as was the case with the Barthels, were marketed and sold to people, “out of market,” before they came to Branson; not through intercept marketing once they arrived in Branson. Based on figures furnished by the Branson Lakes Area CVB, the 3 million tickets sold by BTC represents a potential influx of revenues to its vendors, the city of Branson, and other Branson area businesses of over $233 million.

When asked how they liked dealing with the Branson Tourism Center, Peggy said, ” Everybody’s been so wonderful.” The follow-up question was “Would you have felt the same way even if you had not purchased the 3 millionth ticket? Peggy replied, “Absolutely. It started off real cool that day, I spoke with Lynn [Crissmon, one of BTC’s full service vacation planners.] He was so kind and very informative and helpful to me in getting this together.”

Prior to discovering the Branson Tourism Center on the internet, calling and speaking with Lynn she said, “I had spent most of that day spinning my wheels trying to decide where to go, what we were going to do and that kind of thing.” In summing up her Branson vacation planning experience with BTC she said, “One call that’s all, they just took care of everything. We’re just going to go up there and have fun.”

Little did she know just how much fun they would have!

“Hearts of love” show Branson artist’s wife “Thou art every day my Valentine!”

Tom and Susan in their historic downtown Branson Gallery.

BRANSON, Mo. The British poet and humorist, Thomas Hood, said, “Oh, if it be to choose and call thee mine, love, thou art every day my Valentine!” “Valentine’s Day in Branson will be celebrated by special performances of its shows, menus in its restaurants and in many other ways by individuals,” said Tammy Johnson, the Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center. “However, in terms of the desire expressed in Hood’s loving prose becoming reality, one does not have to look too far beyond the “hearts of love” that noted Branson Artist Tom Crain puts in his paintings to show his wife Susan, “thou art every day my Valentine!”

It would be no exaggeration to call T.(Tom) Morgan Crain, Branson’s preeminent wildlife, bird, western, outdoor and nostalgia painter and one of the top painters of such subjects in the nation. Tom has been painting and doing art work for over 32 years with some of his career highlights including Silver Dollar City, the Franklin Mint, over 20 magazine covers for Cabela’s, Ozark Mountaineer, Fiocchi of America, Blue Book of Gun Values, Springfield Magazine and many others as well as 22 plus limited edition prints and countless individual commissions.

How good an artist is the quiet, unassuming and humble man? Although, earlier in his career he had won the prestigious Ducks Unlimited Artist of the Year and was the first two time winner of the Missouri Waterfowl Stamp Design, until 2010 he had not entered a State Duck Stamp Competition for about 20 years. In 2010 he decided to compete again, entered the  competition in 10 states and out of ten states he placed in eight, winning in three, Missouri, Ohio and Delaware.

Wait, we digress too much about Tom the artist, it’s Valentine’s Day, we are celebrating so let’s get back to Tom the romanticist, love and matters of the heart. Tom and Susan Crain have been married since November of 2000, but prior to that, as their budding romance developed, Tom discovered that Susan, because of their symbolic relationship to “the heart of man” loved and collected things with heart shapes in them. He shares how her friends and family knew about that love and collected heart shaped things for her.

Happy Valentine's Day! Branson Artist, Tom Crain's, painting, "Home of the Brave," with its "hearts of love," sharing the love and romance of Valentine's Day everyday with his wife Susan.

As one of the ways of showing Susan how much he loved her, Tom decided to incorporate hearts into his paintings and has been doing so every since in the vast majority of his works. His first “heart of love” was a heart shaped U.S. Flag on a watch he had.

His  powerful, majestic and breathtaking “Home of the Brave,” was painted in June of 2000 and shares a compilation of his memories of a special fishing trip into the Colorado Rockies with his son, his love and appreciation of the majesty and grandeur of God’s creation, love of country and his love for Susan. This painting is one of Crain’s most popular, toured China and the Orient and is the first of his major paintings incorporating his “hearts of love.” His hearts are ever so subtly worked into his paintings reminding one of the bible verse, ” Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant…”

In fact, that’s the true beauty of his “hearts of love.” In a testament to his remarkable artistic ability, although, in most cases there is more than one “heart of love” in a painting, Tom is able to share his love for his wife so subtly that one really has to know what they are looking for to find one, let alone the other hearts or his “Susan” that are in the painting.

In the illustration of Tom’s “Home of the Brave,” used with his permission, this writer has loosely outlined the major “heart of love” with a pink heart that is not in the original painting. Notice how subtly the artist has woven the heart into the fabric of the painting starting just to the left of where the waterfall meets the eagles wings and follows ridge lines and shadings to complete its form. There is even a heart within the heart.

What a special way to add meaning to Hood’s words, “Thou art every day my Valentine.” Isn’t that something we should strive to show our “Valentines” everyday? Happy Valentine’s Day!

Tom, and Susan most days, can be reached personally in their studio Crain Creations Gallery, located in historic downtown Branson, or through its website.

T. Morgan Crain paints the “art” in artist

Tom Crain at his easel in his downtown Branson studio/gallery.

Many times when people refer to “artists” from Branson they are referring to one of Branson’s great entertainers. However, when they refer to T.(Tom) Morgan Crain as being an artist from Branson they are referring to Branson’s preeminent wildlife, bird, western, outdoor and nostalgia painter and one of the top painters of such subjects in the nation. How good is he?

Although, in his illustrious 32 year career as an artist he had won the prestigious Ducks Unlimited Artist of the Year and was the first two time winner of the Missouri Waterfowl Stamp Design, until 2010he had not entered a State Duck Stamp Competition for about 20 years. In 2010 he decided he wanted to compete again so he entered competition in 10 states. Out of those ten states he placed in eight winning in three, Missouri, Ohio and Delaware.

T. Morgan Crain's winning 2011 Missouri Duck Stamp painting of a pair of Redhead Ducks.*

If that’s not amazing enough, Crain’s first place winner in the 2011 Ohio Wetlands Habitat Stamp Design Competition, sponsored by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Wildlife, was of two mallards in flight. Prior to submitting that painting for the Ohio competition Crain had not painted a Mallard in over six year. “But,” he said” I just had a feeling that that species might do well in Ohio.” Although decades apart, Crain’s painting of a pair of “Redhead” ducks swimming at the Montrose Conservation Area won first place in the 2011 Missouri Duck Stamp and Print sponsored by Ducks Unlimited, making him a three time winner!

And if the genius of this quiet, unassuming and humble man stopped there that alone would be amazing, but it doesn’t. That’s just part of one year out of 32 years and one area out of the many in which he paints. Tom’s career highlights include, among others, work for the Franklin Mint, over 20 magazine covers for Cabela’s, Ozark Mountaineer, Fiocchi of America, Blue Book of Gun Values, Springfield Magazine and others as well as 22 plus limited edition prints and countless individual commissions.

His magnificent masterpiece of a Bald Eagle in flight, “Home of the Brave,” which toured Asia in 2000 and received a medal in China, is indicative of not only the detail of his paintings, but the spirit affection, love, and appreciation that this gentle, artistic and personable man has for what he is painting. His “eagles” are so lifelike, their coloring, detail and character so impeccable that one expects them to fly off the canvas.

Tom said that the medium he uses the most is acrylics and that he particularly enjoys painting wildlife, nostalgia, western and landscapes with “commissioned pieces” being his specialty. He said, “I am grateful for the talent that God has given me and I want to use that gift to bless people.”

Tom can be found, most Mondays through Saturdays, in his studio, “Crain Creations Gallery” located at 214 S. Main Street in historic downtown Branson. The next time you are in Branson plan to stop by the gallery and studio, which is as warm, comfortable and inviting as the artist himself, and meet this amazing artist and individual. For further information either visit the Crain Creations Gallery Website or call (417) 239-3710.

Photo courtesy of T. Morgan Crain with all rights reserved.