[ General ]

What’s New in Branson for 2008

Live Shows

Sight & Sound Theatre, opening May 24, presents NOAH – The Musical. This “Christian Broadway” production is an amazing bible-based show with more than 50 live animals and 50 animatronics animals and a 4-story reproduction of the Ark.

Andy Williams and Ann-Margret perform together at the Moon River Theatre June 6 through July 26. The new Andy Williams Variety Show opens September 5 through October 27. The variety show will be patterned after his Emmy-Award winning television shows and will have up to 6 different specialty acts performing with Andy.

There is a new morning show at Andy Williams Moon River Theatre. “The Entertainers” perform everything from dueling banjos to Phantom of the Opera, Motown to bluegrass, all by local musicians who are “stars” in their own right, from other shows in Branson.

The Oak Ridge Boys will open in their new theatre on Shepherd of the Hills Expressway. Country Tonite will move to the Oak Ridge Boys Theatre. Dalena Ditto’s Country Variety Show will perform at the Oak Ridge Boys Theatre, April through December.

Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theatre welcomes Larry Gatlin & the Gatlin Brothers to their stage in a morning show. Dick Clark’s American Bandstand complex opens up Area ’57 with special events, such as BransonFest 2008, April 8-12, and more planned throughout the year.

Justin Flom and the Imaginary Theatre will feature Branson Divas and the Emmy award-winning comedian Bob Nelson.

Bobby Vinton will be performing at The Mansion this November and Tom Mullica as Red Skelton is appearing at The Mansion.

At the Welk Resort Theatre, The Rankin Brothers Classic Music Revue will debut in March and run through December. Matt and Mark Rankin, along with their cast of outstanding musicians and performers, will present timeless, classic hits covering six decades of music. The Welk Stars Reunion is set for Sept. 3-7 and The Tillis Family Reunion, starring Mel Tillis & Pam Tillis, will return from Sept. 16 through October 25. Tony Orlando’s annual Veterans Salute is Nov. 11 and he will join The Lennon Sisters for an all-new Christmas Celebration, November 1 through December 6.

Yakov Smirnoff welcomes country star Joe Diffie to Yakov’s theatre in September. Shows will feature his friends and family members, as well as comedian Paul Harris.

Attractions

The internationally-awarded 1880s-style theme park Silver Dollar City launches its biggest festival year ever, with new original stage productions, performing groups, and festival showcases. New to open the Spring season: an Irish Celebration with World-Fest’s all new Irish production show, Feet of Fire, featuring authentic fire dancing. Then it’s Bluegrass & BBQ, celebrating Americana at its best with hundreds of award-winning bluegrass performances and fresh-off-the-grill foods. Summer brings family adventures at the park’s biggest Kids Fest ever, presenting a nationally-recognized slate of entertainment with The Magic of Peter Gossamer, a Kid Concoctions interactive world of play, a VeggieTales live stage show produced exclusively for Silver Dollar City, and even an Ice Circus with skating performers from around the world. Fall’s Southern Gospel Picnic features the top traditional and contemporary entertainers in the genre; and the National Harvest Festival brings the largest gathering in America’s Heartland of demonstrating craftsmen, harvest-time foods and musical performances, plus special events: A Salute to the American Cowboy and an all-new Tribute to the American Farmer. An Old Time Christmas, nationally recognized by media from USA Today to Good Morning America and Southern Living as one of the best holiday light shows in America, dazzles with the 5-story, Special Effects Christmas tree and all-encompassing sound and light show on the Square and the all-new Frosty, an interactive show for kids.

Debuting in September, Silver Dollar City, long known as “Home of American Craftsmanship,” celebrates its roots with a very special project to highlight the theme park’s most authentic focus: the interactive art of demonstration. The new Silver Dollar City Culinary & Craft School is designed to pass along knowledge of America’s heritage through fine crafts, handiwork and culinary arts. Interactive classes will be held within the stylishly decorated and themed timberframe structure, set on a hillside within the City, with experts from top chefs to renowned craftsmen teaching culinary classes and craft seminars. Along with the seminars from national experts, Silver Dollar City Master Craftsmen will feature heirloom displays, multiple demonstrations and hands-on activities for take-home skills.

The Branson Entertainment Hall of Fame & Museum, located in the Branson Mall, honors those instrumental in Branson’s entertainment success and showcases historical items for public viewing daily.

Butterflies at Branson is a community-wide art exhibit that will be decorating the Branson area from March 29 until October 10. Area artists, including Yakov Smirnoff, will turn a huge fiberglass butterfly into a work of art to benefit a local charity.

Celebration City, Branson’s Biggest Nighttime Attraction, presents the biggest park expansion to date, and the largest new ride in the Ozarks for 2008. Roaring Falls, a $2 million water adventure ride, takes riders on a water-filled journey through fast-moving rapids and features a 5-story, 55-degree angle drop for an enormous splash finale. Celebration City is a 20th-century themed family amusement park featuring more than 30 rides and attractions including Ozark WildCat, a wooden roller coaster eight stories high. Celebration City hosts “Ignite the Night,” a spectacular multi-million dollar nighttime special effects show presenting a stunning finale to the day’s fun along with a boardwalk full of games, uniquely themed shopping and family-style dining.

There is new fun on the water at Gage’s Branson Landing Marina & Shoppes. Branson Landing Cruises offers daily excursions aboard the luxurious 100-foot yacht Landing Princess or the authentic paddlewheel riverboat Lake Queen in the midst of spectacular Branson Landing and Lake Taneycomo waterfront.

Tall Timber lumberjack show is moving to Hwy 76 West in 2008, located two blocks west of Silver Dollar City, across the street from Uncle Ike’s trail rides.

White River Fish House at Bass Pro Shops in Branson Landing sits on Lake Taneycomo. You can feast on local favorites like catfish and trout or enjoy a delicious hand-cut juicy steak, grilled to perfection. Come hungry for your next adventure at White River Fish House.

Developments

The new Branson Convention Center offers convention and conference goers 220,000 square feet of flexible space in a stunning, state-of-the-art setting. A curving, exposed timber pedestrian concourse gives visitors a pleasant view of the Lake Taneycomo waterfront as they travel between the center’s meeting and exhibit facilities and the adjacent Hilton Branson Convention Center Hotel.

The Hilton Branson Convention Center Hotel is located within walking distance of Historic Downtown Branson and the sprawling new Branson Landing shopping, dining and entertainment district. The new Hilton offers guests a chance to experience the pampered luxury of a metropolitan hotel in the heart of small town America. The 12-story hotel has 293 rooms, including 194 traditional rooms and suites, and 99 condotel units that will also be available for nightly rental.

There are two more championship golf courses in Branson – the Murder Rock course at Branson Creek and the Payne Stewart Tribute course at Branson Hills.

The Branson/Lakes Area community is looking forward to the first flight landing at the new Branson Regional Airport in May of 2009.

Information courtesy of Branson Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce

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