The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

June 29, 2012

Dave Woods: Independence Day festivals abound for Ozarks

By Dave Woods
Digital market development manager

BRANSON Mo. — The Branson Lakes Area is ready to celebrate Independence Day, said Lynn Berry, director of communications for the Branson Lakes Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“Fourth of July in Branson is one of the most special days on our calendar,” she said. “You will see lot of fireworks going on all around the lakes area. I’ve always said the best place to be on Fourth of July is on a boat.”

I suspect she is correct. I’d love to enjoy Branson’s fireworks Ñ any of them Ñ floating on a pontoon boat somewhere along Table Rock Lake or Lake Taneycomo. I have a history of celebrating our country’s independence with a cold, all-American beer in hand.

The Branson Lakes’ Fourth of July festivities begin Saturday near Kimberling City with Fireburst, and end July 7 with the Branson on the Bridge Centennial Celebration festival and street dance.

 With that, the Branson Lakes Area is in store for a two-weekend patriotic party. For me, Branson’s always a patriotic party.

“Each and every day we are red, white and blue in Branson,” Berry said. “But, Independence Day is extra special.”


Fireworks Displays

Fireburst is set to kick off the party.

“It’s a beautiful (fireworks) display over Table Rock Lake,” Berry said. “The Table Rock Chamber puts on a beautiful show and you can see it from just about any of the hillsides out there on Highway 13.”

The Branson Landing offers several opportunities for fireworks and a variety of events.

“The Landing has so much going on,” Berry said. “Just bring a chair and watch the fireworks go off over Lake Taneycomo.

“Chain Reaction, a Journey tribute band, plays and is wonderful. There is a very patriotic tribute that occurs at the end of the evening with The Landing’s fire and water show. It’s spectacular.”

Another Landing event,  a boat race dubbed the Firecracker 5000, always attracts a big, enthusiastic crowd to the shores of Lake Taneycomo, Berry said.

Cedar Lodge

Cedar Lodge, a longtime Branson resort, offers several opportunities to enjoy a hot July day.

“They have a beautiful sloping area on their property, which goes down to the lake,” Berry said. “Everybody brings a blanket and a picnic, plus there is great food available at Truman’s Barbecue. You can get a great view from the side of that hill of all of the wonderful events that they put on at Cedar Lodge.”

Street Festival

Capping off Branson’s Independence Day celebration Ñ and their 100-day centennial celebration Ñ is a street festival and dance on the Lake Taneycomo bridge.

“We are going to close the old historic bridge over Lake Taneycomo and have a big party,” she said. “Citizens and visitors are invited. It will have a real fair atmosphere with lots of food vendors and great music and crafts and entertainers. Everyone is invited. Our bridge has been a landmark since 1941. It’s a good thing the Department of Transportation has improved the bridge recently. We’re going to have a lot of folks on that bridge. We expect a huge crowd and a lot of fun.”