In addition to its many cultural and historic landmarks, this destination hosts a number of outstanding festivals and events that may coincide with your visit.
For many years, Branson was traditionally a summer destination, and tourist activities pretty much shut down during the winter. But these days, the “season” is all year. The Hot Winter Fun Big Show at Dick Clark's American Bandstand Theater, in late January or early February, brings a slew of Branson performers together on one stage.
Ozark Mountain Spring runs from March through May and features more than 40 special events and festivals, including collector car auctions and sporting events. Kewpiesta in April is one of the planned events; it honors Ozarks artist Rose O'Neill, creator of the Kewpie doll.
Spring also brings Bluegrass & BBQ . Hundreds of bluegrass performances feature both up-and-coming artists and big-name headliners. Pit-cooking demonstrations highlight everything from Texas smoked beef brisket to St. Louis-style ribs and Memphis dry-rubbed meats that you can douse with all kinds of barbecue sauces.
The Southern Gospel Picnic brings together top-name gospel vocal groups and an old-fashioned picnic featuring chicken and all the fixings plus a tempting array of desserts. This family-style music celebration runs from late August to early September.
During the Harvest Festival from mid-September to late October, more than 150 artisans and craftspeople present their work. The festival also offers a lumberjack show, an art show, sand sculpting, a barn dance, musical performances and harvest foods. Silver Dollar City's final event of the year is An Old Time Christmas in November and December.
In September, the 3-day Autumn Daze Arts, Crafts & Music Festival takes place in downtown Branson.
From Nov. 5-11 Branson hosts Veterans Homecoming Week , which draws tens of thousands of veterans, their friends and families. The week includes appearances by high-ranking military personnel, tribute shows and military reunions. It concludes with a downtown Veterans Day parade.
Throughout November and December, more than 5 million twinkling lights adorn the streets during Branson's Lights of Joy . The Branson Adoration Parade rolls through downtown in early December with lighted floats, high school marching bands, musicians and singers.
The parade starts with the lighting of the Adoration Nativity Scene on Mount Branson, a tradition that goes back almost 70 years. With figures nearly 28 feet tall, it remains lit through Dec. 31. Branson's music theaters also get into the spirit, presenting dozens of holiday-themed productions in November and December during the Ozark Mountain Christmas Lights & Village celebration.
See all the AAA recommended events for this destination.
AAA’s in-person hotel evaluations are unscheduled to ensure the inspector has an experience similar to that of members. To pass inspection, all hotels must meet the same rigorous standards for cleanliness, comfort and hospitality. These hotels receive a AAA Diamond designation that tells members what type of experience to expect.
The Branson/Lakes area levies general retail sales, tourism sales and food and beverage sales taxes based on three different jurisdictions: Branson Landing/downtown, citywide and Branson Hills. General retail sales taxes range from 8.6 to 9.6 percent; sales that include a tourism sales tax range from 11.6 to 12.6 percent; food and beverage sales taxes range from 8.975 to 9.975 percent.
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Skaggs Regional Medical Center, (417) 335-7000; CoxHealth Cox North (Springfield, Mo.), (417) 269-3000; CoxHealth Cox South (Springfield, Mo.), (417) 269-6000; Mercy Hospital (Springfield, Mo.), (417) 820-2000.
269 SR 248 Branson, MO 65615. Phone:(417)334-4084 or (800)214-3661
(BKG), 1 mile south of the Hollister exit off US 65, east on Branson Creek Boulevard, then following signs to 4000 Branson Airport Blvd., is served by Buzz Airways and Frontier and handles commercial and general aviation; phone (417) 334-7813.
Hertz, which only operates out of Springfield-Branson National Airport, offers discounts to AAA members; phone (417) 597-5313, (800) 654-3131 or (800) 654-3080. Rental cars are available at Branson Airport.
Gray Line Branson
Cab companies include Jerry’s Shuttle, (417) 348-1419; and Checker Cab, City Cabs and Yellow Cab, all of which can be reached at (417) 332-2227 (Branson Cab Service).
Unless you're part of a motor coach tour, getting around Branson is much easier if you have your own vehicle. One convenient alternative to driving is a free ride aboard the Downtown Trolley. The red-and-gold, hop-on and hop-off trolley makes 12 stops in the historic downtown area, including two stops at Branson Landing. It operates daily 9-6, Mar.-Dec.; closed Thanksgiving and Christmas. Trolley maps are available at downtown retail locations and at the Downtown Branson Betterment Association, 112 W. College St.; phone (417) 334-1548 or (866) 523-1190.