Branson Celebrates its “Fifth Season” inGrand Style Two months of holiday festivities await groups in this Ozarks entertainment mecca
“They sure celebrate Christmas early here.” Leave it my 6-year-old to state an obvious truth in the tourism industry. With the need to fill hotel rooms and theater and restaurant seats, destination holiday celebrations start before most shopping malls can deck the halls with garland and Christmas trees, adding a “fifth season” to complement spring, summer, fall and winter offerings.
These holiday events present a unique opportunity for groups to add an early or mid-November departure to their trip schedule. By planning early, you help travelers avoid the mad December holiday travel rush, alleviate some of the concerns of inclement weather playing havoc with travel plans, and allow opportunities for advance holiday shopping for friends and relatives back home.
On a recent fam trip in Branson, we enjoyed the kickoff of the 23rd annual Ozark Mountain Christmas, a celebration that runs from early November to the end of December. We had the chance to see firsthand as the Branson CVB rolled out the proverbial red carpet during the opening event at Branson Landing, one of the area’s newest attraction, shopping and entertainment complexes. Spectators enjoyed live entertainment from local shows, a photo opportunity with Santa and Mrs. Claus, and a water and fire pyrotechnics display grand finale.
But that was just a start. Everywhere we traveled in the city, holiday décor adorned street lights, theaters dressed up in holiday style and restaurants decked the walls. Witnessing holiday spirit so early in the season, even the biggest curmudgeon would find a soft spot in his heart for holiday cheer in the self-proclaimed Brightest Place in America.
Branson’s entertainment is displayed in festive style with themed productions at the area’s 100+ live shows. Some of Branson’s icons make special appearances each Christmas season, and mainstream shows add some holiday spice. On the theater scene, Sight & Sound’s Miracle of Christmas traces the lives of Mary and Joseph before the birth of Christ. Spectacular sets, live animals and Broadway-quality actors and music make this a must for any Christian travel group. (sight-sound.com.)
At Silver Dollar City a special holiday production of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is authentic as it gets. This inspiring story of redemption features a live band, a talented cast, special effects, stunning Victorian scenery and period costuming.
The entire theme park is in holiday mode as Silver Dollar City presents An Old Time Christmas. Be sure to check out the City’s square, the setting for Christmas on Main Street, the theme park’s biggest light show ever. See the musical five-story Christmas tree as it twinkles and dances in unison with over one million lights adorning the square. Emblazoned in over 100,000 lights, the Gifts of Christmas Holiday Light Parade glides through the streets of the “City” twice each evening. In addition to festive feasts and holiday treats, you can learn new recipes for your Christmas celebrations at Silver Dollar City’s Culinary & Craft School.
The entire town of Branson is transformed into a holiday wonderland in November and December. For details on 2011 festivities, visit explorebranson.com.