BRANSON, Mo. —
It was a moment a dozen years in the making.
Last Saturday, a couple thousand Branson-area residents, tourists, entertainers, media and show types — and me — gathered at Branson’s airport to watch as the first Southwest Airlines flight arrive from Houston, Texas.
Many in attendance hope and believe the addition of daily, non-stop flights from Dallas, Houston, Chicago and other points of departure across the country, will make a big impact on Branson’s — and Southwest Missouri’s — future.
It was a big day for the airport staff, show and attraction owners and producers wanting to put more butts in the seats and heads in the beds of their theaters, attractions and hotels.
I know, I’m a pushover. But I had a little tear well up as the passengers deplaned, waving and taking photos of those in the crowd, who were in turn taking photos of them. It was a surreal experience and a huge party on the tarmac.
Like many of those in attendance, I’ve followed the airport’s progress for years, and I’m excited about having another Southwest point of departure in the area. Branson is Southwest’s 79th regular destination. Branson Airport is an easy drive with a terminal that’s easy to navigate.
Food, drink and song
The night before the flight arrival, I stopped in at Cosmopolitan Bistro and Wine Bar for a quick preshow meal and libation. I found that and more.
Yolanda Fletcher and her piano player entertained the early evening diners with great American musical standards and requests. Yolanda, a funny and talented singer, splits her time between independent gigs and working with Branson’s World Famous Platters.
The time I spent getting to know her on Friday night was swell. Check her out on YouTube. Her version of “Neither One of Us” is soulful and highlights her Motown-inspired talents.
Watching Yolanda’s YouTube videos made me want to check out her show with the World Famous Platters at the Tribute Theatre. The best part of catching Yolanda at Cosmo: No cover charge. For the price of a drink and dinner, she sang, laughed, encouraged requests and even took a try at “The Girl from Ipanema” — a 1965 bossa nova standard and regular piano lounge request of mine.
I ran into Yolanda on Saturday during the airport celebration, and she was quick with a wave, smile and firm hug. I’ll catch her and the Platters tribute show in the near future.
March is spring break month, and it’s a big draw for Titanic Museum Attraction.
Beginning next week, Titanic hosts six different authors of Titanic proportion. Titanic history fans will have the chance to get up close and personal with Titanic historians and have a chance to purchase their books.
Throughout March, Titanic celebrates its Irish heritage and the thousands of Irish men and women who built the “unsinkable” ship in 1912. The Titanic Branson website offers a complete rundown of the month’s events and activities.
Students visiting for a spring break getaway will enjoy the attraction’s salute to the 133 children who boarded the ship when she set sail for America on her ill-fated maiden voyage.
One thing I’ve noticed during the countless visits I’ve had to Titanic Branson is the level of interest kids have in her past and the people who sailed in her. Now, with the celebration of the children’s exhibit, kids of all ages have even more to experience.
Don’t miss Molly and Carter, Titanic’s King Charles Spaniels, who pay tribute daily to the pets of Titanic. The kids love them, and the kid in you will, too.
New air service hoped to attract even more visitors
BRANSON, Mo. —
It was a moment a dozen years in the making.
- Best of Branson
Destinations: New England charm
I had heard of Stormy Point Village for years. The resort is an ownership-based, time-share community. Not just a time-share condo, but a full-on destination resort
Christmas connection: Billy Dean takes on lead role in 'The Toy Shoppe'
Billy Dean seemed ready to slow down and distance himself from reality a bit.
Not that mounting a Broadway-style musical in Branson, working with a cast of talented kids and taking on a role written by -- and for -- entertainer Kenny Rogers is slowing down.
Winter, fall to feature traditional Branson events
I often get questions from folks around town concerning Branson events and activities.
Sometimes I have the answers, sometimes I don’t. When I don’t, there’s one person I can call who always does. That’s Lynn Berry.
Lynn is director of communications for the Branson Chamber and Convention and Visitors Bureau. She can always get me the information I need, or at least point me in the right direction.
Recently, questions about fall foliage, veterans celebrations and Branson Christmas keep coming up. Here’s what I know, thanks to Lynn.
Branson entertainer to bring Neil Diamond show to Carthage
Keith Allynn, star of "A Neil Diamond Tribute," will perform his rendition of the famous singer for a special theater fundraiser. He will perform Saturday and Sunday.
Dave Woods: Christmas is cool, but don't forget about fall
I'm biased. I love fall holidays in the Ozarks.
Tour brings super '60s acts to Moon River
Lindsay has hosted television shows, maintains a solo career and keeps busy, especially for a man in his early 70s. His tourmates, Monkees' icon Mickey Dolenz, Union Gap's Gary Puckett and The Turtles featuring Flo and Eddie, will bring dozens of 1960's pop and rock hits to the stage for two shows at Andy Williams Moon River Theatre on Oct. 18 and 19.
Dave Woods: 'Marco Polo' show a dazzling history lesson
I'm a little ashamed at my lack of knowledge of Marco Polo, a 13th-century Italian explorer. But there was more to the new White House Theatre's production than a history lesson. It's a great theatrical experience laced with deep lessons and some lesser-known ancient history tossed in.
Branson's Shepherd of the Hills outdoor drama to end after 54 seasons
After 54 seasons, one of Branson's oldest attractions, The Shepherd of the Hills Outdoor Theatre, will end with a final performance on Oct. 19.
Amusement park giant buys Harlem Globetrotters
Georgia-based Herschend Family Entertainment Corp. has acquired Harlem Globetrotters International Inc. from Shamrock Capital Advisors.
More Globe Alert contest winners announced
Congratulations to Amanda Williams, Sherry Suiter, Amber Prewett, Michael Landis, Jessica Madsen, Sherry Hicks and Kevin Carter.
These seven winners and the next Globe readers who win a $20 gift certificate to enjoy a meal at Shorty Small's Restuarant in Branson.
Each Monday in September seven winners will be randomly selected from all who have signed up for Globe Alerts.
You could WIn too.
Just register for Globe Alerts today and look for your name in The Joplin Globe and at JoplinGlobe.com next Monday.
Another seven winners will be announced.
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- Destinations: New England charm