It’s funny how Branson reminded me of two of North America’s raciest cities – Las Vegas and New Orleans – because Branson is far from racy. It’s rather the opposite and unquestionably driven by pure-hearted religious forces. You’d be pretty hard pressed to find the seedy side of life in this small, wholesome Missouri city. There are massive churches everywhere – primarily Baptist and Methodist. No casinos. No chicken ranches (brothels.)
Yet, Branson is filled with neon lights and endless stage show entertainment reminding the visitor of nights ‘on the strip’ in Las Vegas. (Perhaps it was more so because we visited during the holidays and Branson is very big on Christmas and Christmas lights.)
But the fact that you can find performances going at any hour of the day, and free spontaneous entertainment at any eating venue in the city … really reminded me of New Orleans and made me pinch myself several times throughout our week-long visit. Just where were we, and how did we find ourselves in Branson?
It was my husband’s choice. We take turns choosing vacation destinations and Branson was his choice. He’d heard there was good live entertainment at reasonable prices. And he was right! I’m told there are 100 choices for live entertainment daily in this tiny city of just 10,000 permanent residents. It’s no surprise that Branson hosts approximately 8 million toe-tapping visitors each year. There is lots to do, and much of it won’t cost you a bundle.
Country music is prevalent, with a heavy dose of gospel thrown in. With music greats like Elvis Presley and Ray Charles having gotten their start in gospel, it’s no surprise that Elvis and Ray Charles impersonators are big draws in Branson. We took in the “Legends In Concert” show at the Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theater. It was fabulous! As a huge fan of Alan Jackson, I especially enjoyed the performance of Doug Brewin, who didn’t miss a beat in his well-executed tribute to Alan Jackson!
We also enjoyed the Legend of Kung Fu production, which featured a troop of 65 dancers and acrobats from China who had performed during the Bejing Olympics and were definitely worldclass. (Click on the link to see online video clips of the production.) Reg and his friend Neil really liked the intimacy in the smaller “Little Opry Theater” used for the Tribute to Marty Robbins (which they thoroughly enjoyed) while I ate chocolate at a local chocolate shop. Yes, I found some terrific chocolate in Missouri! Stay tuned to a future post for that.
We had the pleasure of staying at the Wyndham Branson at the Meadows resort as I am a Wyndham timeshare owner. It was a terrific facility, and thanks to reviews on Trip Advisor, I had requested a top floor suite which gave us great views of the Ozark Foothills and lessened any noise from neighbouring suites. The atmosphere at the resort was very laid-back, just like the rest of Branson. No high pressure sales tactics like we’d found on our previous Wyndham stay in Orlando.
Please join me back here the week of December 19th for more on Branson and our taste tantalizing exploration of Missouri.