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The Branson Beat - What's New, What's Old

Updated on April 25, 2015

Let's learn more about Branson, MO, together

The Branson Beat tells what there is to see and do in the Greater Branson Area of the Ozarks and stories of the past in the area as well. We also offer links to a variety of shows that might be of interest to you on your visit, or, as a local person. We are open to suggestions of other topics that might be included here.

My favorite Branson show - Presley's Country Jubilee - The standard by which other shows are judged - I agree

You for sure want to go see the live show when you are in town - watch the youngsters perform and grow on the show before your very eyes. My wife and I have watched them now for over 40 years!

You can also now see the Presley family each week on the RFD television network where their weekly show has become as Saturday evening tradition. We tape it, ourselves, so we don't miss a single episode. I hope you will join us. See the Presley show, every chance you get.

Season opening March 9 and 10 - be sure to go, when you can. We plan to attend next weekend when our grandchildren are here on Spring Break.

Tribute shows are a Branson tradition - Which is your favorite tribute show?

Of the more than 100 live shows playing this year in the over 50 theaters, 11 of these shows are "Tribute" shows of one form or another. They range from "Hank Williams Revisited" to the "Legends in Concert" production (with five locations nationally). Each reprises the music of a renown performer or group from the past by current artists and performers.

Brochure for John Denver Tribute Show
Brochure for John Denver Tribute Show

A Tribute to John Denver Starring James Garrett

This week I again had the opportunity to attend "A Tribute to John Denver Starring James Garrett" at the Little Opry Theatre in the Branson' IMAX Entertainment Complex. My whole family is made up of John Denver fans. James Garrett, a personal friend of John Denver, does a fine job of sharing songs and stories from John's life that makes the show a great experience for John Denver fans.

Garrett's show also features well-known Branson performers, Randy Plummer and Jim Glaspy, along with C.J. Newsom on vocals. The theatre is quite intimate and James interacts with the audience as he tells John Denver stories as well as his own (he was with the two-time Grammy winning group, The Kendall's, as lead male vocalist and rhythm guitar player).

Branson Centennial Logo
Branson Centennial Logo

Branson Centennial in 2012

Celebrations from April 1 - July 10, 2012

From the Centennial Celebration description:

"Nestled deep in the Ozark Mountains in southern Missouri, this small community has always had a welcoming spirit, a tenacity to make it through tough times, and a deep foundation of faith. These ideals - coupled with a love of craftsmanship and music - shaped the culture of the Ozarks and the Branson area.

It was this culture, set against the natural beauty of the Ozarks, that drew the first "tourists" to the Branson region in the late 1800's, including an author named Harold Bell Wright. And it was this culture that so many people around the world became fascinated with after reading Wright's landmark 1907 novel "The Shepherd of the Hills.""

Check out the events tab and others to find out more about the Centennial Celebration.

Aerial photo of Table Rock Dam, in Branson, Missouri, which impounds the White River and forms the lake.
Aerial photo of Table Rock Dam, in Branson, Missouri, which impounds the White River and forms the lake.

Table Rock Lake

Table Rock Lake is a defining place and lifestyle icon for the greater Branson, MO, area of the Ozarks. It is impounded by Table Rock Dam which was constructed in 1954 to 1958 on the White River by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers.

There are several commercial marinas along the lake, and Table Rock State Park is located on the east side both north and south of Table Rock Dam. A new Visitors Center is currently under construction just at the south end of the Dam. The Showboat Branson Belle is is a riverboat that operated on Table Rock Lake. The entrance is a short distance south of the Dam on Highway 165. Being a showboat, she hosts lunch and dinner shows throughout the year.

At the base of Table Rock Dam, the Missouri Department of Conservation operates a fish hatchery which is used to stock trout in Lake Taneycomo. The cold water discharged from the dam creates a trout fishing environment in Lake Taneycome. The fish hatchery is a tourist attraction itself, as well as favorite site for visits by school children from the local area.

Branson Lakes Area
Branson Lakes Area

76 Country Music Boulevard

76 Country Music Boulevard is a long strip of music theaters, motels, outlet malls and other tourist stops, running west of U.S. 65, west on Missouri Highway 76. It is a long, wide road (three-lanes including a non-passable center lane) which is infamous to the Branson area. Many side roads have significantly reduced the congestion but before show times (from about 6-8 PM) and after shows (around 9-10 or so) there will still be slow-downs… so enjoy 'the strip!'

Music and variety theaters on 76 Country Music Boulevard provide shows in the morning, in the afternoon and in the evenings, most days each week. There are five season in Branson: Branson Hot Winter Fun, in January and February; Ozark Mountain Spring, in March through May; Summer Family Fun, in June through August; Branson Fall Colors, in September and October; and Ozark Mountain Christmas, in November and December.

A family saga story set not far from Branson, Missouri

Back to the Homeplace
Back to the Homeplace
The novel is set on a farm and in a nearby fictional community located in the southern Missouri Ozark hills and near a fictional western branch of the Current River. The story revolves around a family dilemma following the death of their matriarch and the unusual will she left to insure the continuity of the farm, which has been in her family for over 150 years, intact. The year is 1987. The varied background and viewpoints of the adult children coming back to the Homeplace ignite controversy and expose long kept secrets as each family member searches for his or her share of the family legacy. While the older family members stake their claims on land and fortunes, the younger ones search for love and acceptance. Subplots involve AIDS Awareness in 1987 issues and a support group for domestic violence incidents. At the heart of this family life story is how we do or do not effectively communicate among family members - parents with children, among children and grandchildren and that we must each face the consequences of our individual actions. What happens when they come back to the Homeplace?

Video Book Trailer

Aerial Photo of Branson Airport near Branson Missouri from about 7000 ft msl (about 5700 ft over ground)
Aerial Photo of Branson Airport near Branson Missouri from about 7000 ft msl (about 5700 ft over ground)

Branson Airport

Branson Airport opened on May 11, 2009 (just days before I retired full-time to the Branson area). It is currently the only privately owned, privately operated commercial service airport in the United States.

Four airlines provide service to and from the Branson Airport to major hubs around the country. Service is adjusted to current demand and is seasonally adjusted. Click the photo image for latest service information.

On February 23, 2011, Branson Airport's largest carrier, AirTran Airways announced they would be adding flights to Baltimore, Chicago-Midway and Houston-Hobby, all flights year round, to the existing Atlanta and Orlando destinations. AirTran Airways was acquired by Southwest Airlines in May 2011, and early in 2012 Southwest Airlines announced that Branson service would be continued and expanded. Frontier Airlines provides regular service to Denver. Frontier Express operated by Chautauqua Airlines provides seasonal service to Milwaukee. Branson Air Express operated by Corporate Flight Management provides seasonal service to Austin and Dallas-Executive.

Just in time for a Christmas gift or reading!

Video Book Trailer

White River Valley Historical Society logo
White River Valley Historical Society logo

White River Valley Historical Society

Remembering the Past, Looking Toward the Future

The White River Valley Historical Society gathers and shares the stories of the people of the upper White River Valley who are rich in their historical heritage.

Their website says: "The wilderness of upper White River Valley was not tamed by the shiftless, the lazy, nor by notorious outlaws. It took stalwart men and women, with brave hears, strong bodies and noble purposes to bring civilization to this region. They sough opportunity more than security. They were born of hardships and lived to endure hardships. They had faith in themselves, their principal tools were the Kentucky rifle, the woodman's axe and the Holy Bible."

Click the logo image to visit the website and learn more about the White River Valley Historical Society.


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