Archive for the 'General' Category

Tour of Missouri in Branson Today!

Wednesday 9/10 1:30pm

A view from my office of the individual time trials for the Tour of Missouri elite cyclist race. This is just before the ardous uphill climb during the 18 mile trek. Stay tuned for updates!

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Aggressive Driving states that aggressive driving can lower your gas mileage by 33% on the highway and 5% around town.

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March 7 is opening night for Branson’s first show

Friday night the curtain goes up on the 49th year of the show that started it all in Branson, The Baldknobbers.

Tim Mabe, the show’s producer and comedian “Droopy Drawers, Jr.” anchors the funniest comedy team in Branson of Stub Meadows and Hargus Marcel.

“We have such a talented cast, and this year’s show has the great country music that people expect from us, but also some new country hits and lots of fun!”

Brothers Bill, Jim, Lyle and Bob Mabe began Branson’s first live entertainment show in 1959 by mixing gospel, country, and blue-grass music with zany comedy. The original Baldknobbers Jambore created the prototype for shows in what has become the live entertainment capital of the world.

Now almost fifty years later, the Mabe Family continues their family legacy of great country music and hilarious comedy!

Today’s Baldknobbers Jamboree Music Show is an entertainment powerhouse honoring God and country with a patriotic blend of classic and contemporary country, golden gospel and outrageous comedy. The cast of seasoned professionals is proud to present a fun-filled family show that touches the hearts and funny bones of all ages.

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Getting Married in Branson: Marriage licenses

If you are wanting to get married in Branson, there are a few things you should be aware of when obtaining a marriage license.

Obtaining a marriage license

You can get a marriage license at two places in the area:

  • Taney County Courthouse Recorder’s Office
    132 David Road
    Forsyth, MO 65653
  • Stone County Courthouse Recorder’s Office
    108A E 4th Street
    Galena, MO 65656

How to apply

Both parties must be in person at one of the Recorder’s offices listed above.

When you can apply

Monday through Friday (except legal holidays) 8:00 am – 5:00 pm.

When you can pick up your license

There is no waiting period for a Marriage License in Missouri, but applicants must provide a current Driver’s License, Passport or Visa as proof of identity. The Marriage License is valid for 30 days from the date of issuance and may be used anywhere within the state of Missouri.

Required Information on the license includes: birth date, social security number, full legal name, level of education, race, and date of the end of a previous marriage. Persons divorced less than 30 days may apply for a marriage license if they acknowledge, in writing, that they understand the divorce can be appealed or set aside within 30 days by the court of jurisdiction.

Both parties must sign an affidavit that all information is true and correct.

After you pick up your license

You are responsible for delivering the license to the person who solemnizes your marriage. Marriages may be solemnized by any clergyman, either active or retired, who is in good standing with any church or synagogue in the State of Missouri. Marriages may also be solemnized, without compensation by any judge including a municipal judge.

The person performing the ceremony must complete the license, have two witnesses sign it, and return it to the Recorder’s Office (in the envelope provided) within 15 days after the wedding. The license remains on file permanently in the Recorder’s Office.

Marriage Qualifications

Blood relatives, down to and including first cousins, MAY NOT marry under the laws of the State of Missouri.

No distinction is made between resident and non-resident individuals.

Applicants (a male and female) must be 18 years of age to marry without parental consent. Persons between the ages of 15 and 17 may obtain a license with the consent of a parent or legal guardian. Parents or legal guardians must give consent in person (at the time of application) and have proper identification. If legal guardian is giving consent, a certified copy of guardianship papers must be presented. The custodial parent or legal guardian must also provide a bith certificate for the minor child.

Applicants must provide a current Driver’s License, Passport or Visa.


New Golf Course Opening Gives Branson a Dozen Places to Play a Round

Branson, Missouri, is quickly becoming one of the most popular golf destinations in the United States. The Branson/Lakes Area now boasts more than a dozen courses for golfers of every caliber, and there’s not a better way to enjoy the magnificent scenery of the Ozark Mountains. After a round of golf, Branson offers over 100 live shows with many choices of music, comedy, magic, acrobats, and Broadway-style productions. And these wonderful golf courses are all “within driving range” of the great shows.

Branson has been welcoming guests to this beautiful area of the Ozarks in southwest Missouri for more than 100 years. Early visitors enjoyed fishing and floating the White River. Then, Lake Taneycomo and Table Rock Lake lured the fishermen. Golfing in these gorgeous Ozarks settings is just a natural.

John Daly”s Murder Rock Golf and Country Club (6727 yards) is the newest course to open in Branson. Located in Branson Creek, this 18-hole championship course has been described as “playing two different courses,” because of the elevation difference; the front nine is 300 feet below the back nine: one plays the valley, one plays the ridge. The designers, Landmark National (Oak Tree, La Quinta, PGA West), worked with natural topography and built the course into some challenging terrain. With a creek crossing, water on two holes and 35 well-placed bunkers, players will find it demanding. Murder Rock is open for public and private play and will be an affordable game.

Branson Creek has been named one of the “best places to retire” and is also home to the Tom Fazio-designed Branson Creek Golf Club (7012 yards), named by Golf Digest the #1 public course in Missouri and #56 in the United States. Branson Creek is four miles south of Branson on U.S. Hwy. 65 and just a couple of miles from Branson’s new regional airport, scheduled to open in 2009.

Golf Digest calls the LedgeStone Golf Course (6724 yards) at StoneBridge Village, “a masterpiece of mountain golf architecture.” StoneBridge Village is nestled into 3000 acres of gorgeous Ozark woodlands. Dense forests border most of the narrow Zoysia fairways. Bunkers surround speedy bentgrass greens and water comes into play on ten holes…and beautiful birds, occasional wildlife and lush scenery come into play on every hole! LedgeStone also offers a driving range and putting green as well as an area for short game and bunker practice. Play is limited to residents and the village’s nightly rental guests.

Thousand Hills Golf Club (5111 yards) is set in the heart of Branson, just off Green Mountain Drive. It has hilly terrain, with lakes and creeks coming into play on 16 holes. Thousand Hills has a 3-1/2 star rating from Golf Digest. Local entertainer Mickey Gilley is a golfer you’re likely to see when you play Thousand Hills. Gilley plays as often as he can, “Every day that ends in ‘y’,” he says, with that trademark grin. “The Thousand Hills course is just great fun.” And if you want to get a hole-in-one, Thousand Hills is a good bet. Gilley has had four at this popular Branson course! The course features USGA bentgrass greens with Zoysia fairways and tees.

Gilley also brags about the other courses in Branson and says “Golfing is great in Branson, and there’s so much else to do: shopping, shows—a great variety of shows, not just country music!”

Rudy Gatlin is another musician who loves golfing in Branson. Rudy and his brothers, Steve and Larry, will be performing at Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theater in 2008. Rudy and his brothers recently ranked high on Golf Digest’s list of “Top 100 Golfers in Music”, its first ranking of top musicians who play golf. Rudy was ranked #6, Larry #7 and Steve #8. How does Rudy feel about being the #1 Gatlin golfer? “Sweet! There is nothing sweeter on this earth than seeing your brother take his money, out of his pocket and put it in your pocket!” Rudy says they love the Branson courses and are looking forward to playing the new Murder Rock course. “The topography is wonderful. There’s a 360° view from the clubhouse!”

Two other musicians who “play Branson” are in that prestigious Top 100. Glen Campbell and Charley Pride both made the cut. Visitors often ask, where do the entertainers go “late night?” Answer: Most go home to get a good night’s sleep so they can be up early for a round of golf!

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Celebration City Presents Biggest New Ride in the Ozarks: Roaring Falls

Celebration City presents the biggest park expansion to date and the biggest new ride in the Ozarks for 2008. Roaring Falls, a $2 million water adventure ride, 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.

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Four-State Readers Voted Branson “Favorite Place To Take Visitors”

The popular tourism destination of Branson was recently named “Favorite Place To Take Visitors” in a survey conducted by the Joplin Globe. The annual “Favorites of The 4 States” survey is sent to 36,000 subscribers in four states – Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas and Oklahoma – plus an estimated 10,000 website readers may cast their ballots. The survey with more than 50 categories is sponsored by the retail advertising department, said sales manager Lee Ann Robertson.

A copy of the certificate was sent to the city of Branson by the Joplin Globe, said city spokesman Jerry Adams. More than seven million people visit Branson each year to enjoy the live entertainment bonanza, the many choices for active relaxation from hiking to lake activities and the genuine Ozarks hospitality.

“A lot of businesses build their advertising campaigns around the fact that they were voted a favorite,” Robertson said. “It’s become quite an advertising tool.”

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Branson’s Engler Block Fosters Artisans

There’s music in the air inside the Engler Block this afternoon.

Art Reed is playing dobro on the Pickin” Porch, a popular gathering place in the Engler Block where 30 shops offer visitors a wide variety of handcrafted items, gifts of all sorts and the pleasure of watching artisans at work.

Reed is a luthier, the term for a person who makes stringed instruments. His wife, Faith, is plunking the rhythm on an upright bass. Jim Wiggerman, a retired teacher visiting Branson from Fort Dodge, Iowa., edges up onto the porch, taps his foot and sings along with the Reeds’ version of the old hymn “How Great Thou Art.”

Wiggerman’s wife, Bonnie, leans forward in one of the rocking chairs in front of the Pickin’ Porch. She watches her husband with an almost reverent smile. At home in Fort Dodge, he plays dobro with a group of friends who entertain at local restaurants and retirement homes.

“I may have him build me a dobro,” Jim Wiggerman says. And later, he places the order.

Training and Therapy

Art Reed makes his living building stringed instruments by hand, including guitars, dulcimers, mandolins and ethnic folk instruments. But he’s more than an artisan. He’s fostering new artisans, and that’s significant as the number of new artisans dwindles. Fewer children these days grow up watching Grandpa whittling on the front porch, says the fifth-generation woodworker.

So Reed, who’s also been a minister, looks for young artisans with promise and shows them ways to make a living with the craft they love. He provides space for them to work and sell, and gets a small cut of the profits. And he teaches them tricks of the trade, such as selling peripheral products like the how-to-play music books he’s published.

His business also is good therapy. Reed, who is 66, discovered in 1992 that he had Parkinson’s disease.

“I’ve been a motivational speaker, and I knew music was great therapy for aging men,” Reed says. “It’s really been great therapy for me, and the doctors say it’s bought me 10 years.”

A Small Village

The Engler Block has long offered a welcome refuge to artisans and to those who stroll, shop and maybe have dinner here or snack on something from the bakery.

The business began in 1963 when Iowa builder M.D. Harris came to Branson to manufacture souvenirs. Soon after, he acquired the 30,000-square-foot warehouse. He joined forces with Lou Schaefer and Gene Keckler who owned a novelty business called Lougenes, says Bill Skains. Harris was his father-in-law, and family members still operate Engler Block.

The partners started making souvenirs that were sold wholesale to the recently opened Silver Dollar City and attractions at Wisconsin Dells, Skains says.

About that same time, woodcarver Peter Engler took a shop in Silver Dollar City. As word of Engler’s work spread, other carvers were attracted to the Ozarks. It wasn’t long before their work gained national attention, and Branson became known for its fine woodcarvers. Other artisans also gathered for the season at Silver Dollar City, but it wasn’t a year-round attraction.

In 1987, Engler joined the Harris’ warehouse, and the Engler Block was born.

“This was the first true, year-round operation for the crafters, to bring them inside under one roof to work,” Skains says.

Peter Engler later moved into Peter Engler Designs in the Grand Village shopping center where he continues to carve, with Santas his specialty.

The block-long warehouse has now been expanded to about 50,000 square feet. For visitors, it’s like exploring a small village with a new shop around each corner. The artisans produce jewelry, stained and blown glass, pottery, soaps, silver, leather goods and much more. There are other unique products as well including home furnishings, quilts, grandfather clocks and a coin shop.

Customers Come Back For More

Bobbie Hackbarth is picking out several pieces of blown glass jewelry in Helwig Art Glass near the front of the Engler Block. She’s already bought oil lamps and glass coasters to take home to Neenah, Wis., for gifts.

“This is my second trip to Branson,” says Hackbarth, who is director of corporate administration for Landmark staffing service. “I was in here a year ago, and I had to come back to get these items, and I’ll probably come back again tomorrow.”

Glass artist Wren Helwig has been in the Engler Block since it opened 20 years ago, but he’s been doing art glass for 40 years. After he earned a bachelor’s degree at Drury University in 1973 in nearby Springfield, he opened a studio and explored glassblowing as an art form.

“I didn’t know how to do anything else, so I thought I’d better stick with this,” he says. Having a gathering of artisans helps attract customers.

“There’s always strength in numbers,” Helwig says.

One of the most spectacular pieces in his shop is a large pink glass sculpture hanging from the ceiling and priced at $75,000. He was inspired to make the piece by a photo in National Geographic of the pink tentacles and gills of Hawaii’s spaghetti worm, a six-inch ocean reef-dweller.

It took two years to build and weighs about a ton, he says.

Hackbarth’s husband, Stuart Hackbarth, says he’s impressed with the Engler Block and the resident artisans.

“We don’t want arts like these to be lost,” Hackbarth says.

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A guide to Branson Magic Shows

Looking for some Branson magic shows? With over 100 shows to choose from in Branson, you have many options available for the magic-lover in your group:

  • Bart Rocket
    Comedian, ventriloquist, magician, illusionist and musician all rolled into one multi-talented entertainer, and he offers a show every bit as varied as himself.
  • Hamner Barber Variety Show
    Dave & Denise Hamner are award-winning magicians who have paired up with comedian and ventriloquist extraordinaire Jim Barber!
  • Justin Flom
    A witty fun and touching approach to magic complete with secret passageways, a dessert parlor, a 108 seat theatre and a break dancing duck.
  • Kirby VanBurch
    The Prince of Magic and International Award-Winning Magician, has amazed millions and celebrates another magical season as BRANSON’S MASTER MAGICIAN in a new home with an exciting new show!

The next time you visit Branson, be sure to check out some of the great magic shows that are performing!

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A car enthusiast’s guide to Branson

Love cars? Branson is a terrific place for a vacation if you’re a car-lover! With auctions, cruises, and museums that cater to auto enthusiasts year-round, you will feel like you are at home in Branson!

Branson Car Attractions:

  • ’57 Heaven Car Museum – The most extensive car collection in the world that showcases the cars from the year 1957.

Branson Car Events

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