Music Legends to Appear in Branson in 2009

Andy Williams, five-time Grammy Award nominee and one of America’s most beloved singers, announced a star-studded addition to the talent line-up at The Andy Williams Moon River Theater for the 2009 season.
Williams stated that Bill Medley, Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame Inductee and founding member of the Righteous Brothers, will appear in concert at the Moon River Theatre with zany rockers, Paul Revere and the Raiders. The shows are scheduled for selected dates form April through October, 2009. Williams also announced that rock n’ roll pioneers, Bill Haley’s Original Comets, will appear in matinee performances from April through August.

At the press conference Williams said “I have always been a fan of these guys and now I get to see them every day at my theatre. This is a great thing for Branson!”

Bill Medley, who along with long-time Righteous Brothers partner Bobby Hatfield, created “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling”, a song which has been touted as the most played tune in radio history. Other chart toppers included (You’re My) Soul and Inspiration”, “Rock and Roll Heaven”, “Ebb Tide” and “Unchained Melody”. Teaming with Jennifer Warnes, Medley recorded the mega-hit “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life”.

Often cited as the comedy princes of rock n’ roll, Paul Revere and the Raiders, are best known for their smash hits “Kicks”, “Hungry”, “Good Thing”, and their blockbuster “Indian Reservation”. Fans around the world have dubbed them as one of the favorite live onstage performance groups.

Bill Haleys’s Original Comets have been rocking the world since the early 1950’s when they produced never-to-be-forgotten hits such as “Shake, Rattle and Roll”, “Rock Around the Clock”, and “See You Later Alligator”. Fifty years later, these guys haven’t lost a beat, and it is readily apparent why they are known as one of the early originators of Rock n’ Roll.

Medley shared “We love Branson so much that we’ve bought homes here. The fans are great. And how could it get any better than appearing at Andy Williams’ Moon River Theatre. It’s going to be a fun 2009!”

For tickets or more information call Branson Tourism Center at (800) 785-1550.

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Girlfriends, Get Away – To Branson!

Girlfriends’ getaway… It just sounds inviting. Time spent together with good friends is precious; with bonding, sharing new experiences, and recalling why you’re such great friends. Time is important. We spend a lot of time creating ways to save it. Spend your girlfriend time wisely… Come to Branson!

Branson has everything women want: great accommodations, dining, shopping, spas, shows and a never-ending list of fun things to do. Relaxing comes to mind, too. And Branson offers hotels and resorts that are just right for the trip you are planning. What’s your pleasure? A place with a great view of Table Rock Lake? Maybe you want to be closer to shopping. Or should we say SHOPPING? How about a place on “the strip” that’s close to the shows and some wonderful one-of-a-kind shops? You’re in luck, because Branson has it all!

If luxury and a view tempt you, the Chateau on the Lake has what you want with fine accommodations, dining, and a two-story European-style spa. Relax in elegance or enjoy the nature trail, two lighted tennis courts and many more lakeside activities. Or you could stay at the Comfort Inn and Suites which also has great views of the Ozark Mountains, features a unique mountain lodge theme and is located close to all of the shopping outlets in Branson.

Luxury in a more rustic setting can be found at Big Cedar Lodge, also on Table Rock Lake. Big Cedar is just minutes south of Branson and boasts the casual elegance of Adirondack lodges, cozy cottages and log cabins. “Girls” are known far and wide for their love of shopping, but lots of ladies enjoy the outdoors, too. Big Cedar Lodge offers horseback riding, bass fishing and trout fishing, and wonderful dining. One of the restaurants, The Worman House, was originally built as a home in 1921. There are vaulted ceilings and beautiful wrought iron chandeliers. The caretaker’s house is now the Carriage House Spa.

And now, back to the shopping (SHOPPING). The new Branson Landing, located on Lake Taneycomo in Historic Downtown Branson, offers over 100 specialty shops and restaurants. J Jill, Ann Taylor Loft, Cache and Charlotte Russe are just a few of the shops in the beautiful outdoor atmosphere of the Landing. Shop ’til you drop into one of the fun restaurants like Joe’s Crab Shack or Cantina Laredo. Dine al fresco and enjoy the view of Lake Taneycomo and the magnificent $7.5 million Branson Landing fountains. Or you can get a spectacular view of the fire and water fountain show from The Candlestick Inn, a Branson tradition of casual fine dining just across the lake, where diners enjoy great meals in the cozy ambiance of wonderful antiques and art, much of it by local artists.

There is exceptional shopping all around Branson. The Engler Block on Highway 76 is a collection of local shops and artists. Helwig’s Art Glass has a unique selection of hand-blown glass; you can watch Wren Helwig blowing glass in his studio. You’ll also find quilts, handmade musical instruments and many traditional Ozark crafts being made right before your eyes.

Did you forget to bring a good “read” for those late afternoons by the pool? Check out T. Charleston’s Books & Gifts in the Grand Village; and while you’re there you will want to shop at Mulberry Mill, Kringles (a year-round Christmas shop) and the other unique individual shops. Or grab a great bite to eat at the Hard Luck Diner.

Three outlet malls provide a lot of variety and favorite stores like Liz Claiborne, Eddie Bauer, Nautica, Carter’s, Harry and David’s, Pendleton, Disney Store and Banana Republic. The things you decide to buy while you’re here will always be a little extra special. You’ll think of your girlfriends when you slip into that brightly colored sundress they insisted was just right for you.

The new Hilton Promenade at Branson Landing is a boutique hotel with an indoor pool, health club and the famous Liberty Tavern Restaurant. You’re close to all the “action” at the Landing, which also includes street entertainers, outdoor concerts and a water fountain spectacular that synchronizes light, sound, music and fire!

Branson has become famous as the “Live Entertainment Capital of the World” and now is home to dozens of theaters and more than 100 shows. You’ll enjoy everything from Irish step-dancing at Branson Variety Theater’s Spirit of the Dance to an evening of laughter at the Jim Stafford Theatre or Siegfried & Roy’s amazing protégé Darren Romeo, the Voice of Magic. You’ll have a rockin’ good time at Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theater! And if you remember 1957, you’ll love the cars and memorabilia in ’57 Heaven there.

Andy Williams and his guest stars perform at his Moon River Theatre, the only theater ever written up in Architectural Digest. And now Andy offers delicious food (and an impressive display of his marvelous art collection) at the Andy Williams Moon River Grill, next door to the theater. Or enjoy Beatle Mania LIVE in Branson with Liverpool Legends, the ultimate Beatles experience, and meet Louise Harrison, George Harrison’s sister, at the show.

Another “Branson only” local favorite is Tony Z’s Italian Ristorante located on Highway 165, near the Welk Resort. Tony’s parents came to this country from Italy and he’s always had a passion for cooking. You’ll enjoy his specialty recipes in the old world charm of his dining room and the lounge. The Outback Steak and Oyster Bar, on Highway 76, is another local restaurant everyone loves. The food is delicious and the décor is down under with a remarkable collection of things from Australia, everything from planes to propellers, bikes, books and boomerangs. And a real classic, Rocky’s Italian Restaurant is downtown just a couple of blocks from the Landing.

Stone Hill Winery should be on your list of places to visit while you are in Branson. Touring their Branson facility is fun and informative, and you can taste their wonderful wines. The winery was written up in the March 2007 issue of Martha Stewart LIVING magazine. Stone Hill is a family winery, and the article recounts their preservation of the Norton grape, one of just a few red grapes native to America. The Norton grape makes one of their very best reds.

If the girls are interested in a round of golf, many of the courses in Branson are shorter and designed more for a ladies’ game. Ladies’ golf in Branson is not an afterthought, like so many places. There’s golf designed for players of all skill levels including well-planned forward tees, greens with open fronts, few forced carries and multiple tee boxes; simply better playability and more fun for the girls.

In Branson, you have so many choices: Courses (and every other experience) are memorable; each course is a visual treat, with water features, mountain terrain, tournament conditions and landscaping beyond expectations. Branson Creek Golf Club was named one of America’s top 100 golf courses and Missouri’s number one public golf course by Golf Digest; Thousand Hills Golf Club is the recipient of a 3 1/2 star rating from Golf Digest, and the course features USGA Bentgrass greens with Zoysia fairways and tees; and Pointe Royale Golf Course is a favorite of Branson-area celebrities, many of whom live on the course.

And there are a couple of new courses coming along; John Daly’s Murder Rock golf course will open this fall and The Tribute to Payne Stewart, a Bobby Clampett-designed signature course, is set for completion in 2008. Coming for Ozark hospitality and friendly service, most golfing guests are visitors from everywhere in the U.S., and they love having the staff at Branson area courses cater to them.

It’s easy to keep busy while you’re in Branson. But it’s also easy to relax and rejuvenate; spend the afternoon at the spa getting pampered with your girlfriends so you’ll be beautifully refreshed for your evening out. Don’t forget your cameras. You’ll want photographs to show off to everyone back home. And there is always someone nearby to “take a picture of all of you.”

Girlfriends are a very important part of your life. You deserve a really extraordinary place to spend quality time together. Your time in Branson can be everything you want for your Girlfriends Getaway! And remember: What happens in Branson . . . Becomes a treasured memory!

(And here’s an important tip: If you shop for the fellows at the new Bass Pro Shops at Branson Landing, they won’t care that you’ve already booked your next getaway to Branson!)

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Development booms in world-class vacation destination

Travelers Discover Diverse Entertainment Experience in Branson, Missouri

Not since the boom years of the mid-1990s has this town of approximately 6,500 seen the kind of record-setting new development and expansion of entertainment and vacation amenities that are taking place in 2005. This year, the city is anticipating $125 million in new theaters, attractions, golf courses, shopping centers, restaurants, hotels, resorts and residential and vacation housing. The previous record of $119 million was set in 1993. A Top 20 vacation destination, Branson attracts an estimated 7.2 million visitors to southwest Missouri each year.

Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and Convention & Visitors Bureau President and CEO Ross Summers said new visitors will be surprised at what the town has to offer, and those familiar with Branson will find even more ways to have fun than ever before in 2005.

“What has made Branson such a popular vacation destination has also made it attractive to new and expanding businesses,” he said. “Our unique combination of world-class entertainment in close proximity to outdoor and lake recreation, along with our famous Ozark Mountain hospitality is what sets Branson apart from other major destinations.”

More than 100 live shows at 49 state-of-the-art theaters star music legends such as Mickey Gilley, the Oak Ridge Boys, and the Lennon Sisters. Production shows such as Broadway and Legends in Concert; comedy shows by Jim Stafford, and famous Russian comedian Yakov Smirnoff; big-budget magic shows such as Brett Daniels, and Siegfried and Roy Presents Darren Romeo: The Voice of Magic; and family shows such as the Presleys, Baldknobbers, Duttons and Haygoods present a diverse range of entertainment for people of all ages. Shows such as Neil Goldberg’s sight and sound fantasy, Cirque; Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede Dinner and Show; and the Acrobats of China engage audiences with non-stop action and mystifying physical feats.

Branson also has Silver Dollar City, an international award-winning theme park; Chateau On The Lake, Missouri’s only AAA four diamond lake-side resort and conference center; 10 championship golf courses; three pristine lakes; 100,000 acres of nearby parks and wilderness areas; the nation’s largest annual Veterans Homecoming event each November; and the benefit of $40 million of new and improved roads since 1990.

Branson Businesses Expand
Among the new attractions visitors will find in 2005 are Silver Dollar City’s $10 million explosive launch roller coaster called Powder Keg. The ride, which blasts riders from 0 to 53 miles per hour in just 2.8 seconds, is one of only three like it in the world, according to Brad Thomas, general manager for the 1880’s theme park, owned by Herschend Family Entertainment (HFE), owner of White Water, Showboat Branson Belle, and Ride the Ducks, all popular family attractions in the Branson area.

The $40 million Celebration City amusement park, also owned by HFE, will unveil the new $2 million NightFire! spectacular in April featuring a five-story mountainside video projection, fire cannons with 150-foot flames, three-dimensional visuals, laser lights, water effects, and pyrotechnics.

The Acrobats of China featuring the New Shanghai Circus will open their 8th season in Branson on May 15 at the brand new 900-seat New Shanghai Theatre.

Springfield, Missouri-based development company John Q. Hammons Hotels, Inc., owner of the four-diamond Chateau on the Lake, has added Spa Botanica, a $2 million, 10,000 square foot addition. Last year, the company announced its intention to build an 18-story five-star hotel adjacent to the Chateau in 2007.

World-famous magician David Copperfield will perform a limited engagement at the Andy Williams Moon River Theatre June 13-26, and legendary pop star Petula Clark will join Williams in the spring and fall.

Ed Ames of the chart-topping Ames Brothers, and actress Carol Lawrence will appear at the MGH Performing Arts Center in Don Gregory’s The Great American Songbook show beginning in June. Patti Page and Carol Channing will guest star in The Branson Follies, also new at MGH, beginning this fall.

In keeping with the spirit of Branson’s reputation for exceptional customer service, the Presley family, owners of Presleys’ Country Jubilee, the first theater on Hwy. 76, which opened in 1967, now has new leather seats, as does the Jim Stafford Theatre. Stafford also recently remodeled his theater’s lobby and upgraded the sound and lighting systems. The Dutton Family Theatre and the Dutton Inn have also undergone major renovations.

Other new developments planned for 2005 include a 100,000 square-foot Boyds Bear Country teddy bear store; “Titanic: The Legend Continues” attraction featuring more than 400 original artifacts from the fateful ship; the Belair Theatre starring Bill Medley of The Righteous Brothers and Paul Revere and the Raiders; a 32,000-square foot 1957 vintage car exhibit; the $50 million Branson Mill Craft Village; and an Arnold Palmer-designed signature practice facility at Top of the Rock Golf Course overlooking Table Rock Lake.

Major new developments such as Sight and Sound Theatre, a $25 million Christian-themed theater and property development; Branson Ridge Winery; and Branson Hills Plaza shopping center featuring Target and Home Depot are anticipated to open over the next few years.

Branson Creek Golf Course, which ranks #66 on Golf Digest’s list of Top 100 courses in America, and another development company are planning 68 golf villas, 70-acres of vacation homes and condos, a club house, and a lodge, all within a few miles of downtown Branson, and just minutes from Table Rock Lake.

Visitors Put Down Roots
Beginning this month, the Chamber will launch a brand advertising campaign featuring a newly designed website, and TV commercials to show visitors like Dan Reardon the tremendous variety waiting for them.

Reardon, an engineer from St. Louis, and his family, recently came to Branson for the first time as participants in a marketing research study for the area.

“I had no idea Branson was so sophisticated and had so much to offer. The area is a growing metropolis. My wife and I are even considering buying property in the area,” Reardon said.

Mike Rankin, director of economic development for the City of Branson, said business interest in Branson is overwhelming. “Our phone is ringing off the hook with people who want information on Branson. Many of our inquiries come from visitors who are so impressed with the area, they have decided to put down permanent roots.”

Convention Center Attracts Business Travelers
Branson’s single largest new development currently under construction is Branson Landing, a $400 million multi-phase retail shopping, dining, luxury lodging, condominium and convention center facility situated along 95 acres of Lake Taneycomo shoreline in historic downtown Branson. The 220,000-square foot convention center will provide 56,000-square feet of exhibition space, 20,000-square feet of banquet space, and 15,000-square feet of meeting space.

The opening of the first major phase of Branson Landing is set for spring of 2006, and will include several major retailers such as Bass Pro Shops and Belk Department Store.

Since the dawn of the 20th Century, the Branson/Lakes Area has been attracting visitors, lured by natural beauty and outdoor recreational activities. The addition of Silver Dollar City and Shepherd of the Hills Homestead in the early 1960s formally established the area as a vacation destination.

Branson’s 45-year-old live entertainment scene had been enjoyed by millions of visitors even before it was “discovered” by the CBS television program 60 Minutes in 1991. Following the release of the feature story, which proclaimed Branson, “the live country music show capital of the entire universe,” many nationally-known celebrities built multi-million dollar theaters, and together with other property developers, launched the area into a period of previously unmatched record growth in new construction, and sparked the interest of millions of new visitors to the small Ozarks town. Many of them still visit on a regular basis, according to the Chamber’s research, which shows that 80% of Branson’s visitors in 2004 were repeat customers.

“Branson has undergone tremendous growth in the past 45 years and will continue to see record-breaking expansion for several years to come, but through it all, Branson remains the kind of place where visitors feel at home among family and friends, and that’s what truly makes Branson phenomenal,” said Summers.

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