Marine Corps Birthday Celebrated in Branson, Missouri

Several hundred people gathered together at Branson’s beautiful Chateau on the Lake Spa and Convention Center on Monday, November 10th to celebrate the 233rd Birthday of the United States Marine Corps.

In attendance were more than 100 Marines who ranged from a 19 year old, just-out-of-boot-camp private to an 87 years-young veteran of the horrific World War II battle on Iwo Jima.

Whether active duty or reservists or long retired, these Marines assembled to reflect upon the proud history and heritage of the Corps and to, once again, experience the inexorable bond that Marines share when in each other’s presence.

Lt Col Oliver North (USMC-ret) delivered an electrifying keynote address which paid tribute to the young men and women whom have made up the backbone of the Marine Corps since its founding.

North said “These brave and courageous Marines, through time, embody the very best of what it means to be an American. Their dedication to mission, duty and service to country, is the spirit by which we have kept ours a free nation. They are true heroes.”

The event, which included a social hour, dinner and a dance, was highlighted by the highly moving Marine Corps Birthday Ceremony.

A large, beautifully decorated ceremonial cake, escorted into the hall by four U.S. Marines, drew everyone’s rapt attention as it made its way to the front of the room. Leading the escorts was Corporal Eddie R. Beesley, who on August 31, 1965 near Chu Lai in Vietnam, was grievously wounded and lost his legs. Corporal Beesley, author and motivational speaker, carried a Non-Commissioned Officer’s Sword and handed it to Major Shannon Johnson, Commanding Officer, Weapons Company, 3d Battalion, 24th Marines, Fourth Marine Division. Maj. Johnson cut the first piece of cake for the guest of honor, Col. North. The second piece was cut for Bert Clayton, the oldest Marine Present, and the third piece was presented to Mr. Clayton who then handed it to the youngest Marine present, a symbolic handing down of the tradition of the Corps to its new members.

Other notable moments included the video greetings from General James T. Conway, 34th and current Commandant of the Marine Corps and the remembrance of the Table of Honor for POWs and MIAs still unaccounted for. The Warrior’s Cross, as depicted by the boots, sandbags, rifle and helmet, were displayed to remember Fallen Marines and to reflect upon the potential sacrifice facing members of the Marine Corps.

Lt. Col. North, who graciously signed hundreds of copies of his newest book, ‘American Heroes: In the Fight Against Radical Islam’, was presented a beautifully hand-crafted knife as a gift from the event sponsors and Branson Tourism Center. Lt. Col. North was also told that an American flag has been flying in his honor on Branson’s Avenue of Freedom. and Branson Tourism Center also presented a custom designed, commemorative Challenge Coin (pictured above) to all of the U.S. Marines present.

From a grateful nation- Happy 233rd Birthday United States Marine Corps!

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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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Branson Creek Golf Club Named One of America’s ‘Top 100′

Golf Magazine, one of the world’s most respected periodicals for golf enthusiasts, announced in its September 2008 issue that Branson Creek Golf Club, located in picturesque Ozark mountains of southwest Missouri, has been named as one of the ‘Top 100 Courses You Can Play’ in 2008-2009. Branson Creek is making its third consecutive appearance on the prestigious Golf Magazine list.

Branson Creek Golf Club is managed by Scottsdale, Arizona based Troon Golf®, the world’s largest golf management company with international offices in Australia, Hong Kong, Switzerland, and Dubai. Founded in 1990, Troon Golf overseas operations for more than 200 courses located in 31 states and 31 countries.

Mark Ophoven, Branson Creek Golf Club’s General Manager & Director of Golf shared “The kinds of accolades that we have received through the years from entities in the industry such as Golf Magazine, have helped confirm that our mission to create spectacular golfing experiences at Branson Creek is on target. I am proud of each and every member of our dedicated team at Branson Creek and Troon Golf®.”

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Branson to Host 2008 Tour of Missouri Time Trials

Branson, Missouri will once again play host to the acclaimed professional cycling event, Tour of Missouri, slated for September 8-14, 2008. One hundred twenty of the world’s premier cyclists will compete in 7 stages of this challenging 600+ mile trek.

Following a wildly successful inaugural Tour of Missouri in 2007, this year’s race will take riders, representing 15 teams and more than 20 countries, from St. Joseph, the historic site of the Pony Express, through the Ozarks, over the Katy Trail and the Mark Twain National Forrest, along the celebrated Route 66 and the winding Missouri River, with a brilliant finish at the Gateway Arch in St. Louis.

The Tour of Missouri, sanctioned internationally by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and nationally by USA Cycling, is ranked only behind the Tour de Georgia and Amgen Tour of California for North American cycling events.

The Branson Stage

Daily races range from 75 miles to 125 miles, but Branson will host the 18 mile Stage 3 Time Trials which many teams believe to be all-important towards an overall win. Starting at The Branson Landing, the new commercial waterfront development on Lake Taneycomo in the downtown district of Branson, cyclists face what 2007 Tour of Missouri champion George Hincapie describes as “the hardest time trial course” he’d ever ridden.

In reverse order of their ranking, cyclists start in intervals of one minute each until the final 10 riders, who set out in two minute intervals. The course features a relentless grind through the hilly terrain around Branson, one of America’s favorite vacation hotspots.

To see an interactive map of the Branson leg of the Tour of Missouri please visit:

And for more information from the official Tour of Missouri website visit:

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Oliver North to Appear in Branson at Marine Corps Birthday Celebration

This just in! On Monday, November 10, 2008 at Branson’s Chateau on the Lake, Lt. Col. Oliver North (USMC- ret) will be featured as the keynote speaker at the 233rd Anniversary of the Founding of the United States Marine Corps.

Tickets to the event, which is open to the public, are $45 per person and include Dinner, the Marine Corp Birthday Celebration, Col. North’s keynote address and the Marine Corps Ball featuring a live dance band.

The time honored tradition of the Marine Corps Birthday Cake Cutting Ceremony is not often witnessed by those outside the Corps. The Corps was founded on November 10, 1775 and from that day forward, the tenth of November has been the climax of the Marine Corps year.

The birthday of the Marine Corps is celebrated officially and socially wherever one or more Marines are stationed; aboard ship, at posts of other services, even in the field. November tenth is honored by the cutting and sharing of a birthday cake. A sword is used to cut the cake as a reminder that the Marine Corps are “a band of warriors, committed to carrying the sword so that our nation may live in peace.”

About Col. North

From his bio: “Oliver L. North is a combat decorated Marine, a #1 bestselling author, the founder of a small business, an inventor with three U.S. patents, a syndicated columnist, and the host of ‘War Stories’ on the FOX News Channel. He claims, however, that his most important accomplishment is being “the husband of one and the father of four.”

He is also the founder of Freedom Alliance, a foundation which provides scholarships for the sons and daughters of service members killed in action.

Seating is limited. For tickets contact or call (800) 619-5708.

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Saying Goodbye to a True Son of the Pioneers

Dale Warren, the ‘Trail Boss’ for the legendary Sons of the Pioneers passed away on August 9, 2008 in Branson. He joined the group in 1952 replacing lead singer Ken Curtis, who went on to play Festus in the long-running television show, Gunsmoke.

Dale, who sang lead, baritone and played bass, was called upon to serve as the Pioneers’ leader in 1977 when Lloyd Perryman passed away. For over thirty years, Dale led the group known for its tight, rich cowboy harmonies featured in such songs as ‘Tumbling Tumbleweeds’ and ‘Cool Water.’

The Sons of the Pioneers were created by the ‘King of the Cowboys’ Roy Rogers in 1933 and have been in continuous performance ever since. The Smithsonian Institute dubbed them a ‘National Treasure.’ Having been inducted into the Singing Cowboy, National Cowboy and Western Music Association’s Halls of Fame, the Pioneers arguably set the standard for all western singing groups. They have appeared in close to 100 films with stars such as Gene Autry, Bing Crosby, John Wayne and, of course, Roy Rogers.

This promotional photograph shows Dale Warren in the upper left with the Sons of the Pioneers in 1967.

Dale, thanks for all that you have done. You’ve left quite a legacy. And as Roy would say, ‘Happy Trails, until we meet again!’

Note: You can still see the Sons of the Pioneers in performance at Shepherd of the Hills’ Pavillion Theatre, 5586 West Highway 76 in Branson. I highly recommend it. And take your appetite- there’s a Chuckwagon Dinner waiting for you that you are really going to enjoy!


He’s No Dummy, But His Friends Sure Are

You never know who is going to turn up in Branson! A special group of people were in town recently at the RFD-TV Theatre. Well, not exactly a group of ‘people’. It was Terry Fator and his friendly gang of puppets.

A master ventriloquist, singer, comedian and celebrity impressionist, Fator won the hearts of millions of NBC-TV fans as he was crowned the 2007 “America’s Got Talent” $1 million prize winner. Branson’s own talented family, The Duttons, fared well on the program, making into the the Top 10 in 2007’s competition.

Fator has appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman and on Oprah Winfrey’s show where fellow guest Simon Cowell (of American Idol fame) exclaimed ‘You’re one of the best entertainers in the world!’

Beginning in February, 2009, Fator and friends will be headlining at Las Vegas’ Mirage Hotel kicking off a five-year $100 Million dollar contract. He continues to sell out concerts nationwide with his mesmerizing ability to combine superb ventriloquy, yes that’s a real word, with amazing celebrity singing impressions.

Congratulations, Terry. Enjoy Las Vegas and stop back by Branson anytime.

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Branson unveils biggest ever Christmas celebration

Branson, Missouri just keeps growing. Already recognized by national publications and travel associations as a premier place to celebrate the Christmas holidays, America’s hometown entertainment capital is aglow with the spirit of the season, unveiling its biggest Christmas ever. The World’s Largest Titanic Museum Attraction, the trendy Branson Landing shopping-and-dining waterfront destination, Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theater, the Music of Mannheim Steamroller and more will celebrate their first Christmas in Branson.

From the star-filled Christmas shows on the famous Branson Strip and surrounding area to a glittering array of dramatic, animated lighting displays such as the luminous 2-mile Branson Area Festival of Lights Drive-Through, Ozark Mountain Christmas transforms America’s live entertainment capital into a holiday oasis, November 1 through December 31.

Star performers, special effects and elaborate holiday production numbers are set to dazzle visitors and their families over this two-month period. From the famed “Mr. Christmas” Andy Williams to the debut of the multimedia extravaganza of The Christmas Music of Mannheim Steamroller at The Grand Palace, a multitude of shows haul out the holly with the holiday’s finest talent. Music fills the air with Branson family shows from the Presleys to the Hughes Brothers and the sounds of laughter roll through the aisles from Jim Stafford’s show to Yakov’s. From the Lennon Sisters with the Gatlin Brothers to Righteous Brothers’ Bill Medley with Paul Revere & the Raiders, Branson creates musical presents and one-of-a-kind holiday fun!

Silver Dollar City, an internationally-awarded theme park, decks its streets with millions of lights and a holiday light parade of wondrous floats and animated characters. This year, the acclaimed Dickens’ Christmas Carol presents an all-new scene in the special effects show said to be one of the best productions ever in the history of the park. Plus holiday food, music and rides, including roller coasters, are open after dark for the thrill of the lights from above.

Also, for the first time, the much-celebrated Titanic Museum Attraction will be decorated with hundreds of merry lights and holiday trim that recall Christmases past. Traditional bows of holly and mistletoe will line the elegant Grand Staircase and passageways and music of the season will fill the air.

Visitors can discover Branson’s “Winter WonderLanding” at the new Branson Landing waterfront featuring a promenade of new-to-Branson specialty shopping and dining, a dazzling Town Square water and fire spectacular that dances to the sound of the season and Santa Claus nestled in a special Christmas treehouse in the South Pole.

Throughout Branson, name-brand outlet, boutique and Ozarks crafts shopping, outdoor events and attractions — decked out in Christmas lights and elaborate holiday decorations –beckon to Yuletide visitors.

Plus A Veterans Homecoming
Branson’s Veterans Homecoming, Nov. 5-11, is one of America’s premier tributes to our nation’s heroes from all wars and conflicts and all branches of service.

Enjoy Outdoor Activities
The cool, crisp weather in late autumn and early winter is also an appealing time for outdoor activities in the Ozarks — fishing, hiking, camping and other pursuits are year-round opportunities for sporting enthusiasts. Situated between three pristine lakes, many of Branson’s water activities are available even during Ozark Mountain Christmas. The lakes never freeze, so they are ideal for fishing for bass, trout, crappie and other species, boating and many other types of water activities even in mid-winter. And the mild early winters allow visitors to enjoy the area’s ten championship golf courses!

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