Foodies take note: Silver Dollar City (Branson, MO) 2012 Exciting Festivals


It’s really what’s not to like about Silver Dollar City attractions in Branson, Missouri.  The moment you get past the gates to this (more than 100 acres) theme park, you’d be greeted with nicest smiles (everybody’s on an absolutely fun mode), aromas of freshly-baked breads and pastries and “just as you’d expect” coolest atmosphere (it’s go slow or go fast, it’s happy days are here again!).  It’s my second trip to this “wonderland” and the attractions, shops and activities are ever-changing, I really enjoy (I’m absolutely going back for more) a full day at Silver Dollar City, it’s just a fun place to enjoy unbelievable treats (candy store, apple dumplings, mountain size cookies, pork rinds, hot chocolate, specialty breads, skillet cookery, tater twist, and lots more), to learn from and chat with demonstrating craftsmen like Culinary expert Debbie Dance Uhrig, and to enjoy the thrill rides (let me clarify this, haha, I only said, enjoy hearing/watching kids and families screams on water raft rides and roller coasters).  It’s good old-fashioned family fun, day or night, it’s just magical!

SDC’s Managers (including Lisa Rau and Martha Hoy Bohner) welcomed the media to Silver Dollar City and while we enjoyed a fabulous meal offerings of chicken with apple butter, prime rib and ham, pumpkin/pecan pie and chocolate layer cake, the 2012 exciting events in Silver Dollar City were announced (what’s new for 2012).

SPRING

*World-fest (April 12 – May 6) – features top entertainment from around the world —

AARON CARUSO – Operatic tenor, trained by Rome’s Maestro Viccio and recently had a sold out show at Carnegie Hall

PIAZZA de FIESTA – “Little Italy” plaza comes alive with flag throwers, living statues, stilt walkers and colorful costime parade

MARIACHI DIVAS – Grammy Award-winning all-female music Ensemble

HAWAIIAN COUNTRY MUSIC – Stars four-time Grammy winner George Kahumoku

PERU’S YAWAR CHICCHI – folk music and dance troupe

KENYAN SARAKASI ACROBATS – world renowned acrobats from Nairobi, Kenya

RUSSIAN ACADEMIC BAND

HEARBHAIL FINNEGAN – Ireland’s premier harpist

ECUADOR MANTA

SLOVENIAN POLKA PARTY

*Bluegrass and BBQ Festival (May 10 – June 3, 2012) – see electrifying performances by some of the top names in Bluegrass music, from award-winning favorites to red-hot rising stars and enjoy a barbecue feast

RHONDA VINCENT & THE RAGE, THE GRASCALS, DOYLE LAWSON & QUICKSILVER, KRUGER BROTHERS, GIBSON BROTHERS, BALSAM RANGE, LITTLE ROY & LIZZY

BLUEGRASS COMPETITIONS – The National Single Mic Championship (May 19 & 20) and the Youth In Bluegrass Band Contest (May 26 & 27)

BARBECUE FEAST – BBQ grills filled with over 40,000 pound of barbecue (Memphis dry rubs, Carolina vinegars, smoky Texas eats and sweet KC-style)

SUMMER

*National KidsFest (June 9 – July 22, 2012) -it’s the Ultimate Summer Vacation for families

THE FABULOUS WALLENDAS – famous family circus topbilled by Guinness World Record High Wire-Walker and Discovery Channel star Nik Wallenda

LUMA – high-tech illumination techniques for a three-dimensional show of light, color and motion

GAZILLION BUBBLES – an interactive show with lasers, lighting effects and sheer bubble mastery

CARTOON CHARACTER MEET AND GREETS

INDEPENDENCE DAY CELEBRATION (July 4) – a salute to veterans complete with fireworks

FALL

*Southern Gospel Picnic (August 24 – September 3, 2012) – features Dove Award winners and top gospel acts

BOOTH BROTHERS, TRIUMPHANT QUARTET, JEFF & SHERI EASTER, ISAACS, COLLINGSWORTH FAMILY

PICNIC-STYLE FOODS – all mouthwatering including the Silver Dollar City’s famous fried chicken (Had them on my first trip to SDC, and yes, to die for, the best)

*National Harvest Festival  (September 13 – October 27, 2012) – top-rated craft festival

WESTERN STUNT SHOW by professional stunt men and women

DEMONSTRATING CRAFTSMEN from around the country

BEST OF MISSOURI HANDS JURIED ARTISTS

BUCK TAYLOR – legendary Western star and water color artist

COWBOY POETS, WILD MUSTANGS, TRICK HORSE STUNTS, TRICK ROPING AND BULL WHIP

CHRISTMAS

*An Old Time Christmas (November 3 – December 30, 2012) – heralded “the Most Illuminated Park on Earth” by the Travel Channel

IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE – all new musical production adapted from the Frank Capra classic

CHRISTMAS ON MAIN STREET – light & sound show featuring the 5-story Special Effects Christmas Tree

A DICKENS’ CHRISTMAS CAROL – this is really worth watching (see my slideshow below)

HOLIDAY LIGHT PARADE, MUSICAL LIVING NATIVITY

How do you start your day at Silver Dollar City?  I recommend you go right ahead to Silver Dollar City’s first restaurant, Molly’s Mill Restaurant where a hearty Ozark breakfast/brunch buffet is served  (it’s air conditioned and dig in to Miss Molly’s famous Southern-style Fried chicken).    Then before leisurely walking around, check the schedule of classes at the Culinary & Craft School (Master Craftsman Debbie Dance Uhrig always has exciting recipes to share to you in a state-of-the art Kitchen Showroom, complete with Viking appliances, flat screen TV for over head views and tiered seating for close-up viewing).  Now you’re on your own, wander around and don’t forget the candy factory (sugar confections of all sizes and shapes and flavors, yum!).

Remember:  In Silver Dollar City, it’s your show…come hungry, come as you please and stay as long as you like, until park closes at 9:30 pm!

For more info, please visit website:  http://www.silverdollarcity.com

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Again, to CVB Lynn Berry and the entire Branson and SDC team:  congrats and job well done!

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Say yes to Branson’s Thousand Hills Cabins…

So fast and easy to get to Branson…yes, Branson’s airport is now open and operational.  About 2 years ago, our travel time from Chicago to Branson…10 long hours.  It was worth it though…if you are a first traveller to Branson, I’d recommend enjoying the ride and stops (so many reasons to: experience the throwed rolls at Lambert’s, enjoy a wonderful “full” meat at the Best Buffet in America Ryan’s, and the must “nature’s call”, among others).

Now if you’re wondering about lodging and accommodation in Branson…I thought the best response to that would be to book a hotel room online…but all that changed with this wonderful cabin experience.  Cabin?…sounds ok for summer, but for winter? really!  Oh yes, we had the best time with our cabin at Thousand Hills Golf & Conference Resort.  We could only thank the Branson Welcome Committee (Lynn Berry and Tamra Corbin of Branson CVB and Tammy Scholten and Allison Campbell of Branson Landing) for surprising us with this “truly romantic” cabin.

Fireplace…indoor 2-person Jacuzzi tub (there’s really nothing like sliding in this after a long day of exploring the beautiful Branson)….large shower room with 2 individual shower heads (yup, you don’t have to wait for your wife to finish her shower for 2 hours lol, just take shower with her, together)… and all the fixations of modern conveniences (refrigerator, dishwasher, microwave oven, convection oven, and even washer/dryer).   If like me you’d like to enjoy waking up with a cup of coffee and warm cinnamon buns or pandesal (Filipino bread) or pancakes with prepared blueberry sauce…you sure can do that in the cabin.

And no housekeeper to bother you to get the hotel room ready again for the day…sometimes, I just don’t want to be disturbed.

So check these cabins on your first or next visit to Branson!  Visit website for more info: http://www.thousandhills.com

A “Legendary” Holiday Evening in Branson

For a truly first “Legendary” Holiday Evening in Branson, members of the Press convened in Branson Landing’s Cantina Laredo to enjoy helpings of fajita, taco bar, guacamole and chips and salsa.

What a great first formal meal in downtown Branson…right in the heart of the newest Branson attraction, Branson Landing.    It’s the perfect offering … a bit spicy, a bit crunchy, a bit smooth and creamy…a bit tangy, a bit sweet, a bit salty….with the Branson Welcome Committee (Lynn Berry and Tamra Corbin of Branson CVB and Tammy Scholten and Allison Campbell of Branson Landing) exchanging pleasantries with media guests (Bob and Pat Lindsey of Independent News, St. Louis, Missouri, Rich Lopez  of Dallas Voice, Arline Chandler of Arkansas and Carrie Pitzer of Nebraska, among others).

And if the Mexican fiesta food wasn’t enough to impress the guests, the stars were summoned and joined the party.  Cast members of the popular Legends of Hollywood show hopped from table to table, making us all feel welcome: Dolly Parton, Elvis Presley, Blues Brothers, Ray Charles and Chorus Girls.  And Glenn just had to pose with Dolly!  We later watched the show…and Dolly (not the real Dolly, of course) sang and performed just like Dolly, simply wow!  The show, which also runs in Vegas, is packed every performance.

Branson’s Festival of Lights and Lots and Lots of Christmas Trees

Experiencing “Ozark Mountain Christmas” for the first time was like being a kid again and got fascinated on all the wonderful sights and sounds Christmas.   We all love Christmas —the many trips to the mall, the “hit-or-miss” gift-giving and receiving, the “dieting-on-hold” holiday feasts, and the “they-only-sound-great-at-Christmastime” Christmas songs.   And in Branson, Christmas starts in November…what a joy!

Branson’s Festival of Lights
A tour of this brightly lit street makes you just love Christmas the more, makes you forget your worries, makes you celebrate the joyous season.  Kids from 1 to “92” will truly enjoy this magical one-mile drive.  Branson Festival of Lights Drive-Through kicked off November 1 and ends on January 2, 2012.     We passed through this 2 times and really enjoyed the dazzling lights…and you certainly can stop to take those souvenir videos and photos.  Awesome!

Garishly-decorated Christmas Trees
I just can’t get enough of gazing at decorated Christmas trees garnished with twinkling lights, garlands, and Christmas ornaments of all sizes and shapes and the happy festive feeling that comes along with it.   I think Giant Christmas trees are simply stunning, you see them all in magazines.  But when you get to stand near one, it truly is a wonder, it really brings in the spirit of Christmas.    There is really no excuse of not finding time to put up your Christmas tree each year.

More of my Branson Christmas experience in next posts!