The Tri-Lakes Area is just one week away from the nation’s largest celebration of the contributions of America’s veterans.

“This is just a wonderful week for veterans and their families,” said Branson Veterans Task Force board member Tom Goldsworthy. “It’s the greatest feeling in the world to be a part of remembering veterans.”

“A Veterans Homecoming,” Branson’s week-long celebration, will engulf the Branson area from Nov. 5-11, and will include numerous special events and recognition for America’s heroes.

“This is one of my favorite times of the year,” said Marlyce Stockinger, who helped organize veterans events for several years. “This gives us a chance to really say ‘thank you’ to the veterans. They need to know how much they mean to us and that we appreciate everything they have done for our freedom.”

This year’s veterans activities begin at 10 a.m. Nov. 5 at the Welk Resort Center for the opening of the Traveling Vietnam Veterans Memorial — a scaled-down replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall that stands in Washington D.C.

The official opening ceremonies for A Veterans Homecoming will be at 2 p.m. Nov. 5 at the Mansion Entertainment and Media Center.

Information courtesy of Branson Daily News

Celebrated tribute artist production ‘Legends in Concert’ announced today that they have signed a multi-year, multi-dimensional agreement with GEP, Inc., the owner of the Dick Clark American Bandstand Theater, becoming its resident headline entertainment attraction commencing in 2009.

“Legends has enjoyed tremendous success in the Branson market since 1996,” said Jeannie Horton, General Manager for Legends in Concert. “This new theater will allow the introduction of many exciting enhancements to our production that both our loyal Legends fans and new guests are certain to enjoy. We look forward to an even brighter future as our show moves to this fabulous new entertainment facility, a true state-of-the-art venue.”

The ultimate Branson rock and roll complex, the Dick Clark American Bandstand Theater boasts over 900 seats, yet its innovative design creates an intimate concert space with great sight lines to the stage, cushy comfortable seats with generous leg room, a dance floor, spectacular projection screens and fascinating memorabilia recalling the historic roots of rock ‘n’ roll and country music. “Legends” will perform daily at the Theater at 3:00pm and 8:00pm, except Wednesdays.

The specific performer line-up and the announcement of the morning show for 2009, will be released by the company in the coming weeks. Current “Legends” performances will continue as scheduled through December 31, 2008 at The Legends Family Theater, including its traditional holiday themed version and New Year’s Eve Extravaganza, both long-time Branson favorites.

“It has been our privilege and pleasure to showcase such enormously talented tribute artists and provide family-oriented, value-priced, high quality live musical entertainment in Branson for the past 13 years,” said Brian Brigner, chief operating officer for “Legends” producer On Stage Entertainment. “We are honored to join forces with Glenn Patch, GEP’s founder, visionary entrepreneur and revered Branson developer, and we are looking forward to working closely with his team to mutually benefit our respective business interests and shared commitment to the Branson marketplace.”

“Many years ago, when we conceived the idea of building and operating this complex, we knew it was essential to recruit a truly world class live music production show, to be the signature entertainment for our guests,” said Glenn Patch. “I am delighted Legends in Concert has selected our theater and warmly welcome them to their new Branson home; it’s the perfect fit and will complete the experience for our patrons that we envisioned. We look forward to a fruitful long- term partnership with this outstanding attraction.”

“As the developer of Branson’s premium recreation facilities including the country’s only Dick Clark American Bandstand Theater and Grill, a 30,000 square foot museum featuring one of the finest collections of pristine American-made automobiles from the year 1957 and an extensive collection of period memorabilia, we knew we had to have the very best live entertainment for our visitors,” said Tim Mahoney, President of GEP, Inc. “We are very pleased that Legends in Concert has selected our facility for their future; given how complimentary we know their special brand of entertainment is to all our activities in this market, we are committed to their continued success in Branson.”

Information courtesy of Legends in Concert

Soon, the Tri-Lakes Area will be awash in brightly colored Christmas light displays.

One of the centerpieces of the area’s holiday lights celebration is the Branson Area Festival of Lights Drive-Through.

“We are very excited about this year’s display,” said Kathleen Bullock, director of tourism development for the Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce.

The drive-through display, which is open from Nov. 1-Dec. 31, is located at Shepherd of the Hills Expressway and Expressway Lane in Branson.

Bullock said the mile-long drive-through boasts more than 230 separate displays with more than 1 million lights.

“This is definitely something different, this year,” she said. “About 95 percent of the displays are new. It is really something to see.”

The display is open from dusk until 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and from dusk until midnight on Friday and Saturday.

There are also three other major holiday lights displays.

Trail of Lights — The Trail of Lights, which runs from Nov. 1-Dec. 31, is a drive-through animation display that will carry you into the very heart of Christmas.

The trail winds its way through the historic 160-acre Shepherd of the Hills Homestead, and will take you down the famous “Trail That Nobody Knows How Old” into a holiday wonderland.

The trail also includes millions of multi-colored Christmas lights.

Old Time Christmas at Silver Dollar City — This annual event, which runs from Nov. -Dec. 30, has been named one of the top 10 places in the country to have a bright Christmas by USA Today and the A&E Network.

Along with the millions of lights all over the park, this celebration features the five-story special effects Christmas Tree, adorned with more than 250,000 lights coordinated to blaze to the musical movements of Christmas songs. Families will also love the Holiday Light Parade.

The Enchanted Forest — Located at the U.S Army Corps of Engineers Campground on Indian Point Road in Stone County, the Enchanted Forest drive-through holiday light display is made up of more than 500,000 lights.

It is scheduled to be open from Nov. 10-Dec. 31.

There is no admission fee for this display, which will be open from dusk to midnight each day.

Information courtesy of Branson Daily News

Ozark Mountain Christmas is right around the corner.

The Holiday Promenade of Stars Parade, set for Nov. 1 at Branson Landing, will mark the kick-off for Ozark Mountain Christmas.

The event, the first of the 2008 festivities for Ozark Mountain Christmas, is set for 10 a.m., and officials said it will feature many Branson entertainers, a marching band, dancers, acrobats, drummers and more.

“This is going to be a wonderful event,” said Gary Bartlett, CEO of Midwest Concerts, who is helping organize the event. “Last year, we had between 2,000 and 3,000 people there. This year, we are expecting there to be a lot more people there.”

Grand Marshall for this year’s parade will be world-famous entertainer Andy Williams. Later in November, Williams will take to the world stage as he is scheduled to perform in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.

“(Williams) will be singing ‘It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year’” said Gail Joist, with the Andy Williams Moon River Theatre.

Back in Branson on Nov. 1, the parade will begin at 10 a.m. at the north end of the Landing, near the Belk Department Store. The parade will move along the thoroughfare until it arrives in Town Square.

Along with the parade, there will be two live performance stages — one at the Landing Town Square and one near Bass Pro Shops.

“There is going to be a lot of entertainment and I think people are going to really enjoy who we are bringing in,” Bartlett said.

The entertainment lineup includes Andy Williams, American Idol contestant Jason Yeager, Star Search winner Jake Simpson, and local entertainers Bob Anderson, Moe Bandy, the Lennon Sisters, the cast of SIX, the Liverpool Legends, and more.

“There is definitely a wide variety of entertainment set for this event,” Bartlett said. “It’s going to be awesome.”

Bartlett said some bleacher seating would be available near both stages. He also encouraged those people coming to the event to bring their own folding chairs.

Information courtesy of Branson Daily News

Branson’s most dynamic musical family, The Haygoods, are excited to announce that they are raising the bar with their ground-breaking 2009 season. These top-notch entertainers are proud to unveil two new projects—the purchase of their own state-of-the-art Branson theatre and the creation of their very own TV show—that are sure to delight audiences in Branson, as well as fans all over the world.

The Americana Theatre (across from the Presley’s Jubilee at 2905 West Highway 76), will undergo a million-dollar renovation, emerging for its Grand Opening on March 7, 2009 with a new look, new features, and new name worthy to house the all-new interactive Haygood experience. Audiences will be wowed by this indescribable entertainment adventure, which combines the Haygoods’ own brand of musical magic with state-of-the-art effects, heart-pumping sound, and effervescent energy that cannot be contained. When pure musical talent meets cutting-edge performance, the result is sure to be an electrifying ride of song, rhythm, and sound that the Haygoods’ audiences won’t soon forget.
This award-winning, family musical entertainment group, consisting of seven spirited brothers and one vivacious sister, has performed over 10,000 shows for more than 4,000,000 people during their momentous Branson career. The Haygoods, whose powerhouse performances can be seen throughout 2008 at the Music City Centre, are poised to make the jump from Branson’s best kept secret to breakout stars with the debut of their much-awaited TV show in 2009.
Vibrant and innovative, The Haygoods unbelievable harmonic feats and captivating on-stage antics have delighted Branson audiences for 18 years and will next wow viewers of the CW network with The Haygood family show! The weekly show will be broadcast across the Midwest and will include a mixture of exuberant Haygood antics and the group’s stunning live performances. Branson guests will not only be treated to the Haygoods high-octane stage performances but also be a part of the filming of their live television show as well!! Happy to include audiences who have given the group so much in their new show, Haygoods member Dominic Haygood credits the support of the group’s fans and the Branson community for making the group’s newest endeavors possible.
The Haygoods are excited to put Branson on the map for a whole new audience with their all-new 2009 television show, bringing a new demographic to the town that is sure to benefit the Branson community. As Timothy Haygood explains, the group is excited to give back to Branson: “We are so proud to be investing in our community. We love Branson and can’t wait for everyone to see the newly remodeled Americana theatre. It will be a great addition to the Branson strip!”
Information courtesy of The Haygoods

Amy Grant has sold more than 30 million albums in her music career.

The contemporary Christian artist will be appearing at 8 p.m. Nov. 15, at The Mansion Entertainment & Media Center in Branson.

Grant will be performing as part of her “Lead Me On” 20th Anniversary Celebration Tour. The tour is a reunion of the band, album and concert tour of 1988, which Christ Community Music Magazine calls “the best Christian album of all time.”

Grant was born Nov. 25, 1960, in Augusta, Ga., and hit the Christian music scene as a teenager in 1977.

She is best known for her contemporary Christian music and pop music career. She is also a New York Times Bestselling author, a TV personality and actress on occasion.

According to the CCM Magazine Web site, Grant is considered by many to be one of the true pioneers of Gospel and contemporary Christian music. She has had a strong influence on Gospel music and the Christian culture in the United States and beyond.

Grant is the best-selling Christian Music artist of all time, and she is the 19th best-selling female solo artist in the United States.

Officials with The Mansion said tickets are still available for the show.

Information courtesy of Branson Daily News

Former President Ronald Reagan once referred to Andy Williams’ voice as “a national treasure.”

It’s that time of year when this national treasure is heard in Branson for the Christmas season.

Williams is currently preparing his 2008 Christmas stage show, which will appear at his Moon River Theatre in Branson from Nov. 1-Dec. 13.

Featuring dazzling production numbers, which look like Christmas cards come to life, Williams will be joined by a cast of singers, dancers and costumed characters, and perform all of the seasonal favorites, as well as many of his greatest hits.

There are many who remember sitting in front of the television each year and watching Williams and his family and their Christmas celebration.

Millions of Americans made that viewing a holiday tradition for many years. The popularity of the television special led to the idea of putting together a seasonal concert.

Williams would play 25-30 cities each holiday period. In recent years, he began to lessen the number of cities he played and began to present the Christmas show at the Moon River Theatre in Branson.

Williams’ legendary career began at the age of 8 as part of The Williams Brothers Quartet.

In 1951 the brothers decided to each pursue their own solo careers. Williams went to New York and became a regular performer on Steve Allen’s “Tonight Show.” His first album was released in 1956.

During his career, Williams has amassed almost 20 gold albums and three that reached platinum status.

Information courtesy of Branson Daily News
The Twelve Irish Tenors in Branson are pleased to announce the addition of six more performance dates at the Branson Variety Theater. Due to popular demand, The Twelve Irish Tenors have extended their performance dates to include the week of December 14th- 20th. The Twelve Irish Tenors are a wonderfully talented group of men who create exceptional harmonies based on some of the greatest music of the 20th century. A touch of Irish charm is added to the music selections, creating a musical event that is truly breathtaking.
The additional performances are scheduled for:Sunday, December 14th: 3pm & 8pm
Tuesday, December 16th: 3pm
Wednesday, December 17th: 3pm
Thursday, December 18th: 3pm
Friday, December 19th: 3pm & 8pm
Saturday, December 20th: 3pm & 8pm

Bill Cosby, most well-known for his TV role on the Cosby Show, will bring his stand-up comedy act to Branson on Saturday.

The show is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. Saturday at The Mansion Entertainment & Media Center in Branson.

“We are excited to have Mr. Cosby back again for the 2008 season,” said Larry Wilhite, general manager of The Mansion Entertainment & Media Center. “Last year, he performed to a sold-out house and it was a thoroughly enjoyable evening, and we are looking forward to his performance this year.

Officials said tickets to Saturday’s show are still available.

“You don’t want to miss it,” Wilhite said. “The Mansion is proud to be able to host nationally known stars for the community, and is excited about next year’s line-up.”

While Cosby’s career began in the 1960s, the entertainer’s greatest influence on America was seen in the 1980s.

Cosby produced and starred in what is considered one of the decade’s defining sitcoms, The Cosby Show, which lasted eight seasons (1984 to 1992), and is still in syndication.

The sitcom highlighted the experiences and growth of an upper middle-class African-American family.

While many people know Cosby from his TV series, his skill as a stand-up comic is what got him started in show business.

In the 1960s, his stand-up act was a coast-to-coast sensation, spawning a string of best-selling comedy albums, which went on to win eight gold records, five platinum records and five Grammy Awards.

His role on TV’s “I Spy” in the 1960s made him the first African-American to co-star in a dramatic series, breaking television’s racial barrier and winning three Emmy Awards.

Information courtesy of Branson Daily News

The Live Music Show Capital of the World – Branson – kicks off Ozark Mountain Christmas on Nov. 1 with star-filled Christmas music shows and a Holiday Promenade of Stars parade at Branson Landing.

Branson’s star entertainers and holiday production numbers are ready to dazzle visitors and their families in November and December. From “Mr. Christmas” Andy Williams to Tony Orlando and the Lennon Sisters at the Welk Resort, a multitude of shows deck the halls and showcase Branson’s Christmas spirit.

“Christmastime in Branson reminds me of Christmas when I was a boy. There’s an excitement about Christmas in Branson with the shows, Silver Dollar City and all the other attractions. The atmosphere in Branson around Christmas always seems that much more welcoming and warm,” said Williams, whose trademark Christmas sweaters add to the holiday cheer.

Familiar carols fill the air at family shows like the Presleys, Baldknobbers, and Hughes Brothers and peals of laughter roll down the aisles at Jim Stafford, Hamner-Barber and Yakov Smirnoff‘s shows. From the Oak Ridge Boys’ Christmas show, to Broadway’s Spirit of Christmas with The Osmonds, Branson wraps up its musical packages with one-of-a-kind festive family fun. And, for the kid in everyone, there’s a “magical” Christmas show as well, at world-famous Kirby VanBurch’s Christmas Spectacular.

Silver Dollar City’s An Old Time Christmas (Nov. 1 – Dec. 30), one of America’s most acclaimed Christmas celebrations, is kicking off its brightest season to date with new shows and activities, plus more lights than ever presented throughout the streets of the 1880’s-style theme park. Newly enhanced lighting, through the addition of thousands of energy saving lights and all-new wrapping of 40-foot-tall trees, the spectacular Christmas on Main Street, with its showcase five-story special effects Christmas tree and all-immersive light and sound show, is even more spectacular. Also new this year, Silver Dollar City presents Frosty, an interactive musical, and the Culinary & Craft School that will premier this holiday season. Returning favorites include the Holiday Light Parade with colorful musical floats and the acclaimed production A Dickens’ Christmas Carol. And for nighttime thrills, the roller coasters are open after dark with great views of the park’s four million lights.

On the first Sunday in December, thousands of people gather in downtown Branson to watch a Christmas parade dedicated to “the true meaning of the season.” This year marks the 60th Adoration Parade, an evening event with dozens of high school bands and lighted floats. The theme has always been “Keeping Christ in Christmas.”

The Showboat Branson Belle is bedecked in all its Christmas finery and charts a course for holiday food and fun on Table Rock Lake though December. Also, the World’s Largest Titanic Museum Attraction will be decorated with thousands of merry lights and holiday trim that recall those elegant Christmases past.

Holiday shoppers will discover Branson’s newest “Winter Wonder Landing” at the Branson Landing waterfront. The Landing features a promenade of trendy specialty shopping and dining establishments, the brilliant water and fire spectacular that dances to the sounds of the season in the Town Square and Santa Claus, who has even been known to vacation in Branson himself.

Three name-brand outlet malls, boutique shops at the Grand Village, Ozarks craftsmen at Branson Mills and Engler Block and shops throughout Branson are decked out in lights with holiday decorations that beckon Yuletide visitors.

Christmas traditions in the Branson/Lakes Area include a Christmas light display at the Enchanted Forest on Indian Point Rd., the Christmas on the Trail show and Trail of Lights at Shepherd of the Hills Historic Homestead and the animated lighting displays of the 1-mile Branson Area Festival of Lights drive-through.

For rest and relaxation following a fun holiday entertainment and shopping outing, a host of Branson lodging options and special offers are available from a cozy cabin at one of the lakeside resorts to luxurious hotel rooms and condos throughout the area.

Branson has more than 100 live shows, theme parks, pristine lakes, golf courses, family attractions, shopping and other features that are fun for everyone!

Information courtesy of Branson Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce