Taste of Home Magazine and the Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce & CVB present Branson’s Great American Pie Show (a contest) Friday, April 24 – Saturday, April 25, 2009 at the Branson Convention Center. America’s favorite weatherman, Al Roker from the Today Show, will be a celebrity judge on Saturday, April 25th. Twelve finalists from across the country selected by the culinary experts at Taste of Home will compete for the Grand Prize of $2500 cash, plus a 4-day/3-night fun filled trip for two. Contestants will compete in the following categories: Fruit Pies, Nut Pies, Refrigerator/Freezer Pies and Pudding/Cream/Custard Pies. Celebrity cooking demonstrations and a Marketplace with culinary related exhibitors are planned for both days. Pie Show/Marketplace general admission is $5 per day with tickets available for purchase on-site the day of the event. A complete schedule of events is available at www.GreatAmericanPieShow.com.

Friday, April 24
Great American Pie Show Semi Finals 9 am-2pm
Exhibits Open 8 am – 5 pm
Great American Pie Show Judging 2 pm
Taste of Home Cooking School 3 pm-5pm
Announcement of GAPS Finalists 4 pm

Saturday, April 25
Exhibits Open 8 am – 5 pm
Great American Pie Show Finals 9 am – 11 am
Peoples Choice Pie Judging 1 pm
Great American Pie Show Judging 2 am
Taste of Home Cooking School 2pm-4pm
Awards Presentation 4 pm

The Taste of Home Cooking School—Made Easy is an onstage program of 7-8 recipes that offers quick and easy dishes along with craft and decorating ideas. Enjoy the great live cooking demos with top culinary specialist, Martha Schwend. Hosted by Janet Lennon (Lennon Sisters) and Janet Ellis (KRZK On-Air Radio Personality) with special appearances by area entertainers, this is an afternoon not to be missed! Take home fabulous recipes, creative cooking tips and a free gift bag! All ticket holders will be entered to win fantastic door prizes! Visit the Marketplace with culinary related exhibitors! Cooking School: Friday, April 24th starts at 3 p.m. and Saturday, April 25th starts at 2 p.m. Doors open to the Cooking School 3 hours prior to the start time each day. First 100 ticket holders in attendance on Saturday will participate in Great American Pie Show People’s Choice pie judging at 1 p.m. Marketplace exhibits are open 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Admission to Pie Show and Marketplace is included in Cooking School ticket price. Tickets are $15 (plus service charge and tax) at www.ticketmaster.com/outlets or (800) 745-3000.

The Magnificent Variety Show, formerly known as the Magnificent 7 Variety Show, has a new home for the 2009 season. Their new location will be the Osmond Theatre, located at 3216 W. Hwy 76 Branson. The show will also be lead by Joe & Tamra Tinoco, and will feature more than 75 musical performances spotlighting music from the 1940’s through today. As the name suggests, the show features a variety of music including everything from country to Latin to Broadway.

World-Fest returns to Silver Dollar City in 2009 starting April 4. This unique event is a spring staple in Branson and it brings international performers from around the world to this Midwestern heartland for an event that celebrates the cultures of the world. This year’s festival features the Zhejiang Balancing Monks of China, a troupe of two dozen acrobats and head-balancing monks who demonstrate an incredible mastery of mind and body. World-Fest at Silver Dollar City runs from April 4 – May 3.

Other exciting additions to the World-Fest include a Peruvian dance troupe named Jallmay, percussionists from Ghana known as Dzenbii, who combine tribal rhythms and dance, and New Zealand’s banjo queen Jenny Blackadder.
Silver Dollar City is also presenting their largest Irish production ever with Ireland’s Feet of Fire. With a cast of almost two dozen acclaimed dancers, the Feet of Fire Dance Show features a dramatic stage show with live Irish music, champion step dancers and artists presenting symbolic fire dancing.
World-Fest is also presenting performers from other corners of the world, including the Invaders, a steel drum band from Trinidad, who perform music of the Caribbean Islands, and the Russian Academic Band, a brass ensemble performing Russian & American Jazz classics. Wayne Horsburgh, and Australian musician who performs American country and Australian classics, will be performing as well in his last World-Fest appearance.
The World-Fest event at Silver Dollar City Branson is also a great time to try delicious food from around the world. The international cuisine offered at Tastes of the World includes Greek salads, tasty Irish stews, international flavors of coke and tempting desserts like tiramisu. Or, if you would like to learn to cook these delicious delectable’s guests can attend the Culinary & Craft School at Silver Dollar City where classes teach participants how to make anything from French crepes to Asian stir-fry.
Silver Dollar City tickets are available now. Special Silver Dollar City Branson Packages are available as well.

The Branson Airport has added another destination to their flight schedule. Sun Country, a low-fare passenger carrier they recently partnered with for flights from St. Paul Minnesota, will now be offering nonstop service from Dallas to Branson, Missouri.

Sun Country will be flying to Branson out of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport three days a week (Monday, Wednesdays, & Saturdays.) Flights from Branson to Dallas will depart at 9:35am and arrive at 10:55am. Flights from Dallas to Branson will depart at 11:45am and arrive at 1pm. Introductory rates for a one-way ticket will be $79.

Branson is a popular entertainment destination. With over 70 great Branson shows, outdoor recreation activities, theme parks and more, Branson has become the place to travel for family fun.

The Branson Airport opens in May.

The Titanic Museum Attraction in Branson Missouri has a full schedule of activities and special events line-up for 2009. Here are a few of the Spring Events they have planned:

British Car Show
Friday, April 10 & April 11

The British are coming! The British are coming! And you’re invited, too! Here’s your chance to get up close and personal with British automotive royalty — Jaguars, MGAs MGBs, Austin Healeys and more. Join us for the Greater Ozarks British Motoring Club’s Classic Car Show, an exclusive Titanic Museum Attraction event. These rare classic motor cars will be on public display from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Pull your own wheels into Titanic’s lot, where parking’s always free.

3rd Year World Wide Event – Ham Radio Operators
Saturday, April 11

Ham radio operators worldwide will participate in this very special broadcast originating from the Titanic Museum Attraction. To commemorate the 97th anniversary of the sinking of Titanic and honor the wireless operators who sent the distress signals, ham operators from Branson to Belfast, Ireland, will transmit news of the anniversary using a special call sign and signals. We invite visitors to witness this live event, which offers a firsthand look at the fragile and primitive nature of communication at sea in 1912.

Titanic Princess Tea Parties, Part I
Saturday, April 25 & Sunday, April 26

Sit up straight and mind your manners. It’s time for Titanic Museum Attraction’s first Princess Tea Parties of 2009. These bi-annual parties are Titanic’s biggest, most popular mother-daughter events of the year. Jamie, Titanic First Class maid, will welcome the little princesses and introduce them to time-honored rituals of gracious living — from mini-manners and etiquette lessons to proper table settings, serving skills and polite conversation. Titanic Princess Tea Parties include a grand tour of the museum following each event. Reservations Required.

The Duttons have a new attraction at their theater – Luigi’s Pizza Kitchen! Opening in early April, the Luigi’s Pizza Kitchen will replace the Dutton Deli as the restaurant on-site. The restaurant will be full service and cater to all Branson guests. They will also be responsible for the free meal included with the popular Island Fire Show, which opened their third season on March 14th. With Luigi’s on site, the Dutton Hotel also expects guests to take advantage of the delicious menu items served daily.

Luigi’s Pizza Kitchen currently has two other locations in Branson, but this is their first location on the famous Hwy 76, otherwise known as Country Music Boulevard.
The Duttons will open their 2009 season on April 2, and they are promising an all-new show for the new season. With the talent they demonstrate each year, it is sure to be a tremendous production.
For Branson show schedules, reservations or additional information on Branson entertainment, contact ReserveBranson online or by phone at 1-800-590-0155.

From March through May, Ozark Mountain Spring’s full calendar will feature the thrill of NAIA college basketball and one of the nation’s largest air shows; collector car auctions and culinary demonstrations; FLW bass tournaments, as well as the international folk music and cuisines of World-Fest at Silver Dollar City and historic downtown’s Plumb Nellie Days, to name just a few.

New in 2009, The Great American Pie Show, featuring NBC’s Al Roker from the “TODAY” show as a celebrity judge, will be held April 24-25 at the Branson Convention Center. Culinary events are popular nationwide and Taste of Home magazine’s cooking demonstrations will be a part of the festivities that weekend. For more information, visit tasteofhome.com/cooking-schools.

Special events are planned each week during Ozark Mountain Spring, including Legends in Concert and Elvis Presley Enterprises 3rd annual “Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest,” the Branson Tri-Lakes Building and Home Show, Kewpiesta at Rose O’Neill’s beloved Bonniebrook and Silver Dollar City’s Bluegrass & BBQ Festival.

Branson Airport, the first privately operated commercial service airport in the United States, will host one of the nation’s largest air shows during its grand opening celebration May 8-10.

• The Baldknobbers Jamboree will celebrate its 50-year anniversary of music and comedy in 2009.

• The Welk Resort Theatre has added Lee Greenwood and the Bellamy Brothers to its fall line-up.

Andy Williams Moon River Theatre will welcome Righteous Brother Bill Medley, Paul Revere & the Raiders and The Original Comets.

The Haygoods, Tony Roi, plus Red, Hot & Blue, have moved to the New Americana Theatre. The Haygoods have added a fourth show in 2009 — “Cassandré, The Voice of An Angel,” with a full production show of pop, Broadway and classical songs backed by a 10-piece orchestra.

• RedHead Express has a new show at the Circle B Chuckwagon. The band has just come off a winter tour of the South and the Appalachian Mountains, bringing with them a new producer, new CD and sound.

#1 Hits of the 60’s Show has moved to the Caravelle Theatre.

Mary Duff will co-star with Daniel O’Donnell and then perform in her own show for limited dates in May.

Information courtesy of Branson Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce

Sun Country Airlines today announced exclusive non-stop service from the Twin Cities to Branson, MO beginning May 11, 2009. The airline will fly to the popular tourist destination Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays and will feature a $79 one-way* introductory fare. Sun Country offers the only non-stop service to Branson out of the Twin Cities.

Branson is best known for live entertainment, family attractions, award-winning theme parks, outdoor recreation and its warm Ozark Mountain hospitality. The destination features more than 100 live shows with talent such as the legendary Andy Williams and Broadway’s “Peter Pan”. Branson’s entertainment also includes comedy, acrobats, magic and the World’s Largest TITANIC Museum Attraction.

“We are excited about Sun Country’s service and the grand opening of the Branson Airport on May 11,” said Jeff Bourk, Executive Director of Branson Airport. “We look forward to welcoming Minnesota travelers to Branson where they can enjoy all the attractions we have to offer.”

“We are pleased to be the only airline offering service to Branson out of the Twin Cities,” said Stan Gadek, Chairman and CEO of Sun Country Airlines. “The addition of Branson is a positive step for Sun Country’s future. We look forward to providing non-stop service to a great new destination, featuring the low fares and award-winning service that Sun Country is known for.”

Branson becomes the 27th destination served by Sun Country from its hub in Minneapolis/St. Paul. Flights may be booked online at suncountry.com or by calling Sun Country reservations at 1-800-359-6786.

*Stated fare is for base ticket price only. Taxes and fees are not included.
Information courtesy of The Earth Times

Branson’s highly-acclaimed Island Fire extravaganza returns to the Dutton Theater for a third straight year, opening Saturday night March 14th. Totally restyled for 2009, Island Fire features new dancers, vocalists and fire knife performances.

Working her magic on this year’s ensemble cast is Ramona Schwenke, an internationally famous director of Polynesian shows. She has toured and produced shows throughout the United States including the legendary Drums of Tahiti who performed at Sea World in Florida for 10 years. She has also judged Tahitian, Hawaiian, Maori and Samoan Dance Competitions and Miss Samoa – Utah. Ramona is joined by Alvin Schwenke, famed trainer of world champion fire knife dancers, who will be choreographing the breathtaking fire knife routines of World Champion, Malaki!

Branson’s Island Fire, conceived by Jonathan Dutton’s beautiful Samoan wife Bella, turns the stage of the Dutton Theater into a Polynesian paradise with giant palm trees, beautiful flowers along with misty fog and fiery flames.

According to marketing manager, Judith Dutton, “Last year’s show seems tame compared to the exhilarating and mesmerizing excitement of Island Fire 2009! Both Sheila and Bella traveled extensively and spent hundreds of hours auditioning performers from around the world to build this superb cast of performers. Plus, Ramona and Alvin Schwenke have taken Island Fire to a new level – a truly world class event for the audiences.”

Tickets for Island Fire, which include a box meal with a Polynesian flavor, catered by Luigi’s Pizza Kitchen which is opening soon on the complex, are available now.

Information courtesy of Dutton Theater

A new, two-day event in Branson will be geared toward honoring a unique group of U.S. military veterans.

Hand In Hand: Branson Honors Purple Heart Recipients is scheduled for April 24-25, with several events and ceremonies scheduled.

“We could never do enough to honor these wonderful men and women, who have been injured in battle,” said Marlyce Stockinger, with branson.com, which is presenting the event. “This is just something to honor a group of heroes who do not seek a lot of recognition.”

Purple Heart recipient Ray Wheeler, who was shot nine times in Vietnam, made an appearance during a press conference announcing the event this week.

“I’m glad the Purple Heart recipients are getting the recognition they deserve,” Wheeler said. “They don’t necessarily want it, but it’s good to receive a pat on the back and a ‘thank-you.’”

The event will be filled with special events.

April 24

•8 a.m.-noon — Registration at Factory Merchants Branson.

•2-4 p.m. — Opening Ceremony at the Hamner-Barber Theatre. The guest speaker will be Col. Hemant Thakur, an expert in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Stockinger said Thakur’s presence will be to, hopefully, help some of the veterans.

“I spoke to a lot of Purple Heart recipients and many of them said they do want to have fun and laugh during this event,” she said, “but they also want some tools to help them. We want each of them to be able to use what the speaker says.”

April 25

8 a.m-noon — Fishing tournament at Moonshine Beach. Participants will have their name drawn from Purple Heart recipients who registered on April 24. Each of the 25 participants will be paired up with a professional fisherman from the Central Pro-Am Tour.

9 a.m. — Purple Heart recipients and one guest will be able to join in the fun at the Missouri Wine Festival, which is being held at Chateau on the Lake all day on April 25. While they wait for the fishermen to return, they will be able to sample various wines, cheeses and chocolates.

2-4 p.m. — The Hand in Hand Entertainment Show at the Hamner Barber Theatre will include a variety of Branson performers entertaining the heroes and their families.

6-7 p.m. — The Purple Mountain Majesty Twilight Ceremony will be held at Branson Landing. It will include hearing from guest speaker Maj. Tony Rose, a 9-11 Pentagon survivor and Purple Heart recipient.

“This is going to be a wonderful two days,” Stockinger said. “We need to have as many people show up for these events as possible. Purple Heart recipients need to know that they are appreciated.”

Purple Heart recipient Aaron Wintterle, who was wounded in Iraq, said it’s important to bring as many recipients to the event as possible.

“I was reluctant to come forward and talk,” Wintterle said, “but I really think it will help others. It’s going to be a good event.”

Information courtesy of Branson Daily News