Car Dancing in Branson

The other day I found myself navigating on Branson’s famous Highway 76, the main drag filled with theatres, restaurants, shopping and attractions. While driving down ‘The Strip’ I witnessed a unique seasonal ritual that takes place in Branson every year.

You never know exactly when it’s going to happen, you just know that it will happen sooner or later. It’s known by various sundry names, but I’ve come to call it- The Branson Car Dance. It goes something like this:

You’re driving down the street, usually minding your own business, when the car in front of you suddenly, without any apparent reason, STOPS! The driver’s hand snakes out of his window and, if executed properly, he sends a distinct signal to the world. It’s normally a little wave or a sweeping motion or a gentle point. Often times it is accompanied by a smile.

Now I’ve lived many places and visited many cities and when a driver expends the energy to make a gesture out of a window, it’s usually not a good thing. But in this case, everything is fine and dandy.

This is what happens next. The driver in front of you waves, and lo and behold, another driver from the left or the right, pulls out onto the road and joins you in the winding conga-line of traffic. Maybe two of them sneak in. As this new driver accepts the invitation to The Branson Car Dance, he offers his own salute to consummate the deal. Again, it normally involves all five fingers and is usually accompanied by a smile and a silently mouthed ‘Thank You!’

This choreographed exchange of stop and enter, stop and enter, takes place countless times throughout the day in Branson. I must admit that I wasn’t really prepared for it on Highway 65 when I was going 65 miles per hour- but it happened anyway.

The Car Dance is not on any schedule and the participants are entirely random. The maneuvers get particularly complex when pedestrians join in.

I’ve seen reluctant drivers from far-away lands such as New Jersey and Ontario partake in this ritual. Not sure if you’ll see them being so neighborly back in Toronto or Jersey City, but you never know. Branson and its friendly people have a way of bringing out the best in everyone who visits here.

Happy Car Dancin’ in Branson!

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