ranson Missouri Christmas celebrations continue to grow with the 24th edition of the Ozark Mountain Christmas. The whole town takes the Christmas season very seriously with light displays, musical Christmas selections, and a theme park that wins awards yearly for their dedication to the Holiday Spirit.
While vacations traditionally happen during the warm summer months, many travelers say that in Branson Missouri, Christmas really is “the most wonderful time of the year”. 2012 marks the 24th anniversary of the Ozark Mountain Christmas celebration that sparked an entire town’s winter transformation and has hosted millions of visitors since its inception.
The Ozark Mountain Christmas season begins November 1st and runs through the end of the year. During this time Branson, Missouri is transformed from the live music capital of the world to the Christmas Spirit capital of the world. The transformation is usually first seen with a drive down the Historic 76 Strip which is the heart of the areas entertainment district. Street crews place lights & decorations on light poles and almost every business will have lights hanging from the eaves and Christmas trees in the windows.
In addition to the small scale street side light shows, Christmas in Branson Missouri is celebrated with large drive-through light shows. Two of the largest are the Branson Area Festival of Lights and the Shepherd of the Hills Trail of Lights. The Festival of Lights includes 175 displays illuminating a one mile path. Many guests then travel 3 miles up Highway 76 to the historic Shepherd of the Hills Homestead for the Trail of Lights Display. Here visitors drive through the 160 acre historic homestead and view illuminated and animated scenes of holiday festivities. As a final bonus, the entrance to the Trail of Lights also includes hot chocolate and a ride in the glass elevator to the top of the 230′ Inspiration Tower to view the lights in the Homestead as well as the surrounding Ozark Hills.
Of course, being the Live Music Capital of the World means that all of the favorite shows and attractions in town will put their own spin on celebrating Christmas. Every show dedicates a portion of their show to a holiday themed celebration including traditional carols, modern holiday songs all geared to get audiences in a Holiday mood. Highlights of the music shows include the Andy Williams Christmas Show. Andy Williams was known as Mr. Christmas for his classic holiday songs and albums, and until his recent passing was involved in every aspect of his theater’s elaborate Christmas Shows. The shows will go on and will include a moving tribute to Andy.
According to most Christmas visitors the crown jewel of any Branson Christmas is a visit to Silver Dollar City’s Old Time Christmas. This award winning celebration transforms the 1880’s Themed Park into a blend of modern technology and traditional holiday celebrations to create an experience that has been repeatedly named one of the Top 10 Christmas Vacation destinations in America. 4 million lights twinkle and transform the wooded paths of the park into an unforgettable winter wonderland. In the Town Square, the Five Story Special Effects Christmas Tree features a million lights of its own synchronized with traditional music and carols to put on a cutting edge show. If guests still haven’t seen enough lights they’ll also want to make sure to attend one of the twice nightly Gifts of Christmas Holiday Lights Parade. This parade features 100,000 lights and floats moving parading through the streets of Silver Dollar City delighting audiences of all ages. Despite all the technology at work, the older traditions of Christmas have not been forgotten. Visitors may want to take in the live stage musical version of “It’s a Wonderful Life” or see the “Living Nativity” or “Frosty!” shows. And in a theme park that has won awards for food, it’s a safe bet that the holiday meals will be of a higher quality than can be found at many restaurants.
Because of the popularity of Branson Missouri Christmas celebrations visitors are encouraged to book their lodging early. According to the rental manager at Thousand Hills Resort, a local lodging provider, some of the most popular rentals during this season are the rustic log cabins that feature the full amenities of home. Many guests prepare holiday meals in their cabins before going out and viewing Christmas lights and attending a show.
It’s clear that the Ozark Mountain Christmas has found a holiday traveler niche that wasn’t being filled. The Branson Chamber of Commerce expects the celebration to continue to grow as more people become aware of alternatives to a hot & hurried summer vacation. The Branson Missouri Ozark Mountain Christmas runs November 1st through December 31, 2012.
Thousand Hills Resort is a locally owned and operated lodging provider in Branson Missouri. Featuring over 300 golf condos, lake front condos, and log cabins for nightly rental, Thousand Hills has been a forefront in the Branson hospitality industry since 1991. For reservations and traveler information visitors can visit http://www.thousandhills.com.
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