News article about Branson Missouri's evolution and current status.
Note:*** This piece was written a little bit after the terrible oil spill off of the gulf shores which shut down that destination that year as a tourist draw. It was written as a reminder of the great destination of Branson as a second choice for family entertainment, music shows, theme parks and activities on the lake, as a viable alternative. It has been some time since that disaster and therefore this info is a bit dated. However, all the assertions in the article of the charms of Branson are still the same.
OZARKS MUSIC MECCA STILL OPEN
In the early 1960's an area in the Missouri Ozarks known as Branson has been a mecca for vacationers, family outings and bus loads of tourists. Even before the 1960's the area was already known for hand crafted items, friendly people and a great place to retire. The area began to add music shows steadily through the years and to date has more than 90 music shows to boast about. Many of those shows headline well known stars such as Mickey Gilley, Andy Williams and Jim Stafford.
By the 1990's after the Tablerock Dam was established forming Tablerock Lake, the area seemed to explode with new residents and tour buses. It might take you hours to get from one place to another because of the heavy traffic on the non-improved roads that brought people from everywhere to see the shows and go to the area's best known theme park, Silver Dollar City. Even the United States President, George Bush Sr., visited in 1992 and commented, “We have got to do something about these roads.”
Branson was so overwhelmed by the amount of visitors, the city immediately embarked on several years of city renovation spending millions to improve the roads to and from the tourist area as well as building up infrastructure. Investors of every kind swooped down to grab their piece of the pie to see if they could add to the improvements. Hundreds of bus tours arrived every day to the extent that the local attractions began to depend on that particular demographic, that of the older tourists who go to visit places in groups on tour buses.
However, now that we are in 2010 the bus tours have all but vanished in comparison partly because the older age group is now getting too old to enjoy such a trip and the 'Baby Boomers' refuse to give up driving where they choose to go. Add to that the struggling, sluggish economy and the loss of jobs around the country and you end up with a recipe for dampened desires to spend money on entertainment away from home.
It is a paradox that at such a time there should be even greater numbers of shows available in this mecca of music and entertainment, each of them performing their hearts out for smaller and smaller crowds. On my last visit, I had no trouble booking any number of seats to all the shows I could make time to see. I had no problems getting around, enjoyed having to choose from over 200 restaurants and had a thoroughly good time.
So the conclusion is that Branson is open for business with good roads, ample motel rooms, a variety of music shows to choose from and probably a better deal for the buck than it used to be. Especially now that much of the gulf coast is going to be closed while the cleanup of the great oil spill continues to perplex everyone, Branson is happy and ready to oblige. So come on you 'Baby Boomers' there is plenty of parking for that car of yours.