The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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November 16, 2007

'Tis the season in Branson

By Dave Woods

dwoods@joplinglobe.com

BRANSON, Mo. — Barb Culley and her husband came to Branson to share good times with old friends.

“We come down here for the camaraderie with our friends ... and the shopping,” said the 57-year-old Sioux City, Iowa, resident as she watched the recent Christmas Parade of Stars on the Branson Landing. “You’ve got to make it down here for the holidays.”

For three generations of the McKenzie family of Tulsa, Okla., coming to Branson’s Silver Dollar City for the holidays is a long-loved tradition.

“For the last 25 years or so, we do the same thing every year,” Cam McKenzie, 66, explained. “It’s absolute pure joy. We love Christmas in the Ozarks. It’s a special thing.”

The Branson holiday experience is relatively new to Betty and Alan McGallager, of Pacific, Mo.

The 60-something couple stood in line for almost two hours to get a good spot to view the lighting of Silver Dollar City’s five-story Christmas tree.

“We just found out about Christmas in Branson three years ago,” Betty McGallager said. “It starts the season off for us now; it makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I’ve never seen a tree like that. I could not describe it to my friends, so I brought them with me this year.”

For the Culleys, McKenzies, McGallagers and many others, a trip to Branson during the holidays means more than shopping at the outlet malls and dollar stores. It’s about spending time with family and friends.

This year, more than ever, the town offers a wide variety of opportunities to make new friends and renew old acquaintances under the glow of millions of twinkling lights.

Silver Dollar City is serving up a spectacular Christmas experience, including its biggest light and sound show ever. The Branson Landing is bustling with shoppers from around the country and most of the usual shows have turned up the warm-and-fuzzy Christmas spirit.

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