After 16 years of kicking off the spring entertainment season, BransonFest is history.

Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce Director of Public Relations Lynn Berry said the five-day BransonFest, once filled with entertainers, businesses and crafters, is being replaced with a longer event called Ozark Mountain Spring.

“We are working on ideas to bring more events and festivals to that time period and are very excited about a similar branding campaign for the springtime that we enjoy with Ozark Mountain Christmas,” Berry said.

For years, the Dutton family has showcased its talents at BransonFest.

“BransonFest has done very good things for us in the past,” said Judith Dutton, assistant theater manager. “I’m sad to see it go, but excited to see what the new program has to offer.”

Berry said it made sense to cover the entire season.

“Things just needed to be more than five days,”she said.

The new events will extend the opportunity to bring more people to Branson and stir up more interest in what Branson has to offer, Berry said.

“How successful Ozark Mountain Christmas is something we wanted to emulate for the spring,” she said.

When asked if attendance at BransonFest had dropped, Berry said “a little,” but that “we continued to see a strong turnout.”

Berry said she didn’t believe the BransonFest event had lost money in the past.

The chamber recently received $150,000 in funding from the Tourism Community Enhancement District to fund Ozark Mountain Spring.

Berry said the chamber would like to have an event or festival every weekend throughout the three month season.

“We can’t promise for 2009, but we’ll get a good start,” she said.

Information courtesy of Branson Daily News