The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Enjoy

November 16, 2012

Dozens of shows, attractions deck halls for holiday

BRANSON, Mo. — Cindy Merry knows why Branson attracts so many visitors during the holiday season.

“I think the spirit of Christmas really comes through in all the experiences visitors have while they are here,” said Merry, a representative of the Branson Show League. “The native friendliness of Branson is contagious. Visitors get that feeling and are filled with merriment and cheer.”

Merry’s understanding of Branson’s family appeal hasn’t gone unnoticed on the national stage, either. America Online Travel recently noted Jim Stafford’s show as the No. 1 family show in Branson, she said, and USA Today spotlighted the Hughes Brothers Show for featuring the world’s largest performing family. Silver Dollar City is also often recognized as a top family travel destination by many sources.

“I think the family interaction in Branson is a tradition,” she said. “Our families spend the year entertaining your families. The word ‘family’ doesn’t necessarily mean mom and dad and a couple of kids. We get a full range of families. Grandparents with grand kids, and we have grown brothers and sisters who come into town to celebrate the season.”

Through the end of December, most theaters and attractions change up their traditional shows with Christmas-inspired staging, costumes and songs to bring the holiday to life in Branson.

Family matters

Merry points to the Hughes Brothers Christmas Show as a good example of a Branson show’s Christmas conversion.

“The Hughes Brothers (45 performers in all with a few more on the way) use the full two hours of their Christmas show to perform a traditional Christmas special,” Merry said. “It’s the kind that we all loved to see on TV, and you feel like you are in the middle of one of those. The first half of the show is all of the fun, festive things about Christmas and the second half really concentrates on the true meaning of Christmas. It presents Santa in a whole new light. That’s probably my all-time favorite Christmas show I’ve ever seen.”

Jim Stafford, a Branson veteran, handles his Christmas show in a different way at his theater on the 76 strip.

“He takes the first half and incorporates highlights from his regular show,” said Merry. “In the second half (of the show) he starts with a blank stage and creates a Christmas setting in front of everybody’s eyes.”

Stafford’s Christmas show, she said, is packed with great humor. It’s a family affair, too — Jim and Ann, his wife, have great shopping jokes that they enjoy sharing with the audience, she said.

Both Ann and Jim, as well as Shay Stafford, their son, 19, and daughter Gege, 15, perform during the show. Both Stafford kids have been performing in the show since they were just days old, Merry said.

The Andy Williams Christmas show continues this year with a great tribute to Andy, who died in September. Silver Dollar City recently debuted a  musical production of “It’s a Wonderful Life.” The Hamner-Barber Theater and just about every show, even Buck Trent’s Country Show, draw in some Christmas theme and features some Christmas music, Merry said.

Text Only
Enjoy
  • 071814_whiskeydicks.jpg Stretching out: Whiskey Dick's can do more in a bigger downtown location

    For the Whiskey Dick's owners, it isn't a matter of what's in a name but more of a place where everybody knows your name.

    July 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • 072514_LIVEWIREcar.jpg Livewire's new video debuts on Billboard (w/VIDEO)

    The song is currently on Billboard's Top 40 charts for Texas Music and Texas Regional Radio Report. It is the latest release since the band's first full-length album, "Livin'," which was released in 2012 with Way Out West Records.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Film-Hollywoods Ape M_Cast.jpg Benji Tunnell: Great CGI, solid writing make 'Apes' a near-perfect blockbuster

    A couple of weeks ago, we saw "Transformers 4," a big, computer-driven blockbuster film that was symbolic of all that is wrong with filmmaking today.

    July 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • polyphony.jpg Marta Churchwell: New Mexico marimba group returns for concert Sunday

    They're back. Polyphony Marimba, the Santa Fe, New Mexico, band that wowed the crowd with African music during a Downtown Joplin Third Thursday last summer, received such a response to that performance that they're coming back on Sunday.

    July 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • River Regatta 2013.jpg Dave Woods: Nevada regatta makes for a birthday escape

    In just three weeks, I'll spend my 50th birthday floating down the Colorado River with 35,000 of my closest friends.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo 1 Slideshow 1 Story

  • 071814_pickin trimmin.jpg New festival focuses on short independent films

    As Jack Truman saw his films play in festivals around the world, one lingering thought persisted: He wished that such festivals existed in his hometown area.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 071614 Glory Days_72.jpg Glory Days Music to resume weekly in-store concerts

    The staff at Glory Days Music have been working their business as usual. Musicians demonstrate guitars, drums and other instruments. Music is sold; lessons are taught. But something has been missing.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • mug_joe-hadsall-112613.jpg Joe Hadsall: All the hidden secrets in "Weird Al's" "Word Crimes" video

    I sincerely believe the "Word Crimes" video will become the most important song in history, and the most mandatory-to-watch video in schools across the country.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • mug_joe-hadsall-112613.jpg Globe Phone Test: Concept is clever, but transitions tricky with Asus PadFone X

    It's kind of embarrassing to point this out, but "Candy Crush Saga" is one of the best ways to illustrate how well the Asus PadFone X, a smartphone and tablet combo really works.

    Anyone who has more than one device will understand this situation completely: Let's say a player fires up "Candy Crush" on his tablet computer and really digs the game. A lot. So much so that he downloads it to his smartphone.

    Only there's one problem: All the progress made on the tablet is stuck on the tablet. The smartphone has a completely separate path of progress, meaning the player has to play each level twice. This makes progress through the game twice as long. (This problem can be fixed by signing up for the game on Facebook, but no one really wants their Facebook friends to know they spend so much time crushin' candy.)

    The Asus PadFone X is the dream solution to this nightmare of a problem.

    Available exclusively from AT&T, the device is actually two devices. A standalone smartphone can be plugged into a tablet computer, meaning the owner can take his pick of how he wants to play the game, and all the progress he makes is saved on one device's hard drive.

    AT&T loaned us a device that we tested for more than two weeks -- didn't like having to send it back -- and we found a lot of its qualities and quirks.

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tantric tours in support of latest studio album

    "37 Channels," the latest album from Hugo Ferreira's band, features a lineup of guests including Hinder's Austin Winkler, Shooter Jennings, 3 Doors Down drummer Greg Upchurch, Uncle Kracker guitarist Kevin McCreery, Saving Abel guitarist Scott Bartlett and Leif Garrettt.

    July 11, 2014