Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Calling All Top Spinners: Silver Dollar City Seeks to Spin into "Top" Guinness Record
You are invited to participate in a Guinness World Record setting event
Silver Dollar City announces a quirky activity for summer fun, inviting guests to the park to participate in an official Top Spinning Event for the Guinness Book of World Records: "Most Spinning Tops Spun Simultaneously." On Saturday, August 16 at 2:00 p.m., Silver Dollar City will host the event, which invites the novice and the professional alike.
"This is going to take 200 top spinners to set this record, so the rally call is on," said event organizer Roy Campbell. The only catch, says Campbell, is that participants need to have their own tops, resting assured that on-site lessons are being offered daily at the theme park.
"It wouldn’t be Silver Dollar City if we didn’t have some teaching going right along with the activity," said Campbell, assuring "spinner wannabes" that "Top-throwing Lessons" for skill seekers are now under way daily at the Homestead Barn at Silver Dollar City.
Those wishing to participate must register day of event. Registration will be at Silver Dollar City, Guest Relations, August 16th, from 8 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. "Then at 2:00 p.m. the anticipated, cheering top spinners and fans will gather on Town Square. We'll say Go -- and they're off!" said Campbell.
To qualify, each spinner will need to have a peg top that is thrown with a string, and be able to spin it for more than 10 seconds. At least 200 string-spun tops must spin for a total of 10 seconds each. Officiators and judges will be on hand, one for approximately every twenty tops.
"The craft of making and spinning tops has been around for hundreds of years, which fits perfectly with Silver Dollar City's 1880s theme," said Campbell. "Interestingly, in this day and age of video games and digital toys, we often see bright smiles from kids and parents or grandparents fiddling with our tops here at the park. We decided there wasn't a better time or place to set this world record!"
Information on the Top Spinning Event, 417-338-3886 or www.silverdollarcity.com
Friday, July 25, 2008
Branson Chamber Chatter
Motown, Rock 'N Roll Keep Summer Hot
July Celebrity Birthdays:
Dee Dee Hamilton, July 13
Dino Kartsonakis: July 20
Pam Tillis: July 24
Bill Lennon: July 29
Pam Tillis is celebrating a birthday this month. She'll be back in Branson on Sept. 16 at the Welk Resort Theatre with her daddy, Mel Tillis, her brother Mel Tillis, Jr., and her sister, Carrie April Tillis. Branson producer Joe Sullivan is bringing the "Tillis Family Reunion" for the second year with shows through Oct. 25, he says.
Carrie April, who studied theater and opera in college, now lives in New York City and Nashville. She likes to surprise audiences by singing a country song followed by an operatic aria. She reports she's currently at the Mountain Playhouse in Jennerstown, Penn., where a recent role was Tammy Wynette in "Stand By Your Man – The Tammy Wynette Story." She's got a new CD out called "Roundtrip" that she describes as a blend of country, Americana and bluegrass.
Another birthday girl this month is Dee Dee Hamilton, who sang for some time with The Platters. Dee Dee's currently appearing at the Hot Hits "Motown Downtown" Theatre in historic downtown Branson. She's part of "The Hot Hits Experience" show presented by Rico J., who was a recent guest on the Branson Community Connection, airing at 8:30 p.m. on Thursdays on The Vacation Channel.
Rico J said he used to be a railroad conductor, but always wanted to be a singer. He got his start when he was a child and sang an Elvis song in a talent show. "I liked the cheers of the crowd," he said.
Also in "Hot Hits" is Nedgra Culp, who graduated music studies at Southwest Baptist University. Nedgra drove Wayne Newton crazy while he was in Branson. She sang backup in his show and got better reviews than Newton.
Also in the show is Chico Vega who was with The Drifters and Dee Dee Vega doing a Tina Turner tribute.
A group from the Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce recently attended a matinee of Bill Haley's band, The Comets, at Dick Clark's American Bandstand Theatre. It's hot rock 'n' roll coming right from the guys who invented the genre. Dave Somerville, the lead singer of The Diamonds opens the show. Remember "Little Darlin'" in 1957? Somerville, who's 75, said he doesn't mind getting older. "The older I get, the better I was," he said.
Also in the show is McKenna Medley, Righteous Brother Bill Medley's 21-year-old daughter, who has a beautiful and powerful voice. According to her MySpace page, she first headlined in Las Vegas when she was 15.
The Titanic Museum Attraction recently welcomed its one-millionth visitor. Owners John Joslyn and Mary Kellogg Joslyn gave prizes and a lifetime museum membership to David and Liz Richey of Warren, Ark., and their four children.
Among the fabulous special events coming up at the attraction, on Aug. 9—during the popular Shepherd Super Summer Cruise—the Liverpool Legends will play in the parking lot from 11:15 p.m. until the midnight parade.
by Kathryn Buckstaff
Monday, July 14, 2008
Branson Area Lakes Can Change Lives
In his five years as a fishing guide on Table Rock Lake, Chris Tetrick has a good record.
"I've still never done a trip where at least one person didn't catch a bass," Tetrick said.
Fishing is one of Branson's many choices for active relaxation that can create lasting memories for vacationers. And sometimes, the magic of Branson's pristine lakes make residents out of those visitors.
This year, fishing will be especially good, said Tetrick, who operates Mid Lakes Guide Service.
"I'd rate it as a very good year," he said. After this spring's rains, the water is less clear than it will be later in the season, so fish tend to feed closer to the surface. Higher lake levels also give fish more habitats closer to shore."
Tetrick is a 28-year-old Branson native who started fishing with his dad at an early age.
"Probably still in diapers," he said.
Now, the lakes are his workplace, and he expects to be especially busy over the long Memorial Day weekend. Many of his clients are couples, a mix of veteran fishers who want help finding the best locations, and novices who want another excuse to be out on the lakes, he said.
But his favorite times are taking out a father and son, he said.
"If the kid catches one, he's so excited," Tetrick said. "It’s fun to see."
Fishing For Supper
Jim Slagter, who works at The Vacation Channel, also began fishing early in life. Ten years ago -after vacationing in Branson for years - his family moved to Branson from Iowa because of the fishing.
"They'd take a pontoon boat out and catch dinner," Slagter said.
Branson is an especially great fishing destination because Table Rock Lake and Lake Taneycomo provide different environments.
"There are very few places I know of that you can go and bass fish and catch trout the same day," Slagter said. "The year-round trout fishing here is incredible."
That diversity was created in 1958 when Table Rock Dam was built. Bass thrive in Table Rock Lake where the water is deep and there are many craggy nooks for spawning.
Below the dam, Lake Taneycomo is fed by the colder water coming from the bottom of Table Rock, making a perfect environment for trout. To create recreation in Lake Taneycomo, the U.S. Corps of Engineers raises and stocks more than 750,000 10-to-12-inch rainbow and brown trout into the lake each year. Visitors can see the trout at various stages of growth at the Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery, a fun and educational destination for children and adults.
In downtown Branson, visitors may rent equipment and fish along the Taneycomo lakeshore at public docks near Branson Landing, the town's newest shopping, dining and boardwalk attraction. There's also a Bass Pro Shops store there.
"For a woman to go shopping, and a guy to rent a boat down there, it's perfect," Slagter said.
New Life On The Lakes
Bert Lehman, the owner of Artilla Cove Resort on Indian Point, also expects a busy spring season. He is one of several resort owners who send people to Tetrick for their fishing trips.
Lehman and his wife, Gwen, bought the resort on Table Rock Lake in 1995 and moved here from Raleigh, N.C. where he was a business consultant. They've completely remodeled the 10 units, with upgrades including WiFi. They also have a boat dock and rent boats.
In an article in Midwest Living, Artilla Cove was called "cozy and immaculate" with "tasteful touches inside."
The resort also was designated as a "Value Pick" by Arthur Frommer's publication "Branson." Frommer described the "knock-your-socks-off-view" driving down to the resort at the end of the road, and the "beautifully maintained homelike cottages."
A lot of their customers return to the resort year-after-year, and some move to Branson, he said.
Firefighter Finds New Job
One regular guest was Charlie Neubert, who lived in St. Louis County and was a career firefighter. Neubert began as a volunteer firefighter when he was 14 years old, he said. Neubert, now 51, said he and his wife, Marge, started coming to Artilla Cove 20 years ago.
While visiting, he met a volunteer firefighter with the Southern Stone County Fire Protection District. The district is now the fourth largest district in the state with 15 fire stations.
Neubert started volunteering with the district eight years ago during his summer trips to Branson. The couple bought a boat, hauled it down for a few years, but eventually started storing it here. Next, they bought a condominium on Indian Point. Last year, Neubert retired from his job of 30 years and became the district’s full-time fire chief.
Now, the Neuberts own a 30-foot cruiser on Table Rock Lake. Sometimes, St. Louis firefighters come to visit.
"We go out on in a cove, and just throw out the anchor, and relax," he said.
Sometimes they cruise to a lakefront restaurant for dinner. And they may go to Big Cedar Lodge or the Chateau on the Lake Resort for dinner. They also enjoy the annual Fourth of July fireworks display from their boat, and are among the volunteers who organize the big event.
"I've always enjoyed being out on the water," Neubert said. "I'm fortunate. I feel like I'm a kid."
For additional information about Branson, its shows, live entertainment, theme parks, lakes, golf courses, family attractions, shopping and other features, or to order a free Branson Vacation Guide, call the Branson/Lakes Area Convention & Visitors Bureau at 800-214-3661 or visit our website at www.explorebranson.com.
Also check out Branson.net, another great site about Branson.
Friday, July 11, 2008
Dedication for Commercial Street Mural
The public is invited to the dedication of a mural of Branson's Commercial Street circa 1913 at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 12, on Commercial Street between Main and Pacific Streets in downtown Branson, said Dawn Erickson, executive director of the Downtown Branson Main Street Association. Refreshments will follow at Reish Shoes on Commercial Street.
It was painted by artist John Short and sponsored by the Justus family of Branson. The mural project was overseen by DBMA Mural Committee members Joni Milstead and Deana Acton.
"Attendees will include Mayor Raeanne Presley, muralist John Short, the Justus family and DBMA volunteers who saw the project to completion," Erickson said. "We hope this is the first of several outdoor murals to create additional attractions in Historic Downtown Branson."
For more information, contact the Downtown Branson Main Street Association at 417-334-1548 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ozark Mountain Christmas Community Kick-Off Event
Ho Ho Ho! It'll be "Christmas in July" from 2 to 6 p.m. on Thursday, July 17, for a Christmas decoration extravaganza at the Chateau on the Lake Resort, Spa & Convention Center.
See displays of a variety of indoor and outdoor lighting, and talk to experts about installing lighting and creating a vision for your business or home to make this year's Ozark Mountain Christmas better than ever. There will be cookies to nibble and lemonade to sip while you look at displays. And Santa has promised to stop by.
The free event features ideas for every budget, and many ways to participate in making this year's event something extra-special for Branson's residents and visitors.
This will be the 21st year of Ozark Mountain Christmas, a season that draws 1.5 million visitors to the area. Organizers say it's especially important this year to create a special wonderland because so many people have endured a tough year.
For more information, call the Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce at 334-4084.
Sign Up for Annual Law Enforcement Bike Ride
Sign up now for the Tri-Lakes 4th Annual Local Law Enforcement's Shop-With-A-Cop Benefit Ride hosted by the Five-O Motorcycle Club and the Taney County Sheriff's Department.
Proceeds from the ride provide a Christmas shopping opportunity for area children with Wal-Mart matching all funds raised. The ride starts at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 23, at Branson 1st Stop at Bee Creek Road and U.S. 65, and ends at Danna's BBQ on Missouri 76.
Lunch will be provided. Cost is $10 per person. Register starting at 8 a.m. at Branson 1st Stop or send registration to Shop With A Cop, P.O. Box 281, Kissee Mills, MO 65680. For more information, call 417-546-7250 and ask for Sheriff Jimmie Russell, Chief Deputy Jeff Anderson or Cpl. Can Luttrell.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Entertainer John Tesh To Present Branson Fund-raiser
Award-winning entertainer, singer and composer John Tesh will bring his music to the Branson Convention Center Ballroom at 7 p.m. on Friday, July 18, for "An Evening With John Tesh," said Gary Bartlett, founder of Midwest Concerts & Events in Branson.
Tesh loves Branson, and has brought his children to Kanukuk Kamps, the Christian summer camp, Bartlett said. The show is described as a "high-energy evening of music and dance for the entire family," featuring guest performers including dancer Breeze Lee. Tesh was inspired when he dropped off his daughter at dance class and saw the youngsters performing styles from ballet to hip-hop and "dancing with joy," Tesh said. Tesh and his wife, actress Connie Sellecca, hope to inspire kids and adults to find their passion.
Funds will go to the Branson School District's "Christmas Assistance Program." Last year, it helped 227 families including 540 children at Christmas and throughout the year with essentials from clothing to shoes, food baskets to special medical needs.
"We are looking forward to having John Tesh perform in Branson," said Ross Summers, Chief Executive Officer of the Branson/ Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and Convention & Visitors Bureau. "It is truly wonderful that the evening will be benefiting the Christmas Assistance Program for the children."
Tesh's career includes 10 years as host of "Entertainment Tonight," five gold albums and six Emmy Awards. He's currently host of the syndicated "The John Tesh Radio Show: Music and Intelligence for Your Life."
"This is going to be a great event and an amazing evening of entertainment," Bartlett said. "In addition to being a great showman, John and his family have a personal passion for helping people in America and the world. We're honored to have him here to make this night shine."
Tickets range from $25 to $80 and are available at www.tesh.com or www.ticketmaster.com or call Ticketmaster at 1-877-272-6766.
Additional information about Branson, its live entertainment, theme parks, lakes, golf courses, family attractions, shopping and other features is offered at www.explorebranson.com or 800-296-0463.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Mr. Hammons' Branson Gem Recognized for Second Consecutive Year in Expedia Insiders' Select Ranking of World’s Best Hotels
Tourists and residents of Branson, Mo., have been charmed by Chateau on the Lake Resort, Spa & Convention Center's Library Lounge since the European-style retreat opened in 1997. The popular evening gathering place, just off the resort's 10-story atrium lobby, has undergone a $600,000 makeover. The 301-room/suite resort, spa and convention center, located at Table Rock Lake in Branson, are owned and managed by Springfield, Mo.-based John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts, the nation's leading independent builder, developer, owner and manager of upscale, full-service hotels, resorts and suites (www.jqhhotels.com).
To better accommodate the Library Lounge's evening crowd of 200-300 people, John Q. Hammons' in-house interior designer, Juli Russell, focused on maximizing the existing space, capturing the casual elegance of the Chateau, and highlighting the area's remarkable lake and mountain views. A large serving bar with room for three bartenders was created as a focal point. The bar area features two new flat screen televisions along with attractive wine and liquor display storage. The bar design reflects the nostalgia of the Chateau and incorporates beautiful millwork and inlaid embossed leather panels. A storage closet was retooled as a conveniently located restroom. The Library Lounge's new furnishings in warm autumn hues include a mix of lounge and bar-height seating situated in conversational groupings. Window treatments were modified to accentuate the views and natural light, and more lighting was added with the flow of the furniture groupings. Floor and wall coverings were replaced with durable porcelain tile, hardwood and faux paint finishes, producing a polished, elegant look. A stately piano in the room's center facilitates live musical performances, including by Canadian recording artist Eli Barsi, a regular favorite at the Library Lounge.
"John Q. Hammons continues to invest in creating a relaxed, inviting atmosphere at Chateau on the Lake, building on our success over the last decade," said Stephen Marshall, vice president and general manager of Chateau on the Lake for more than 10 years.
Chateau guests are talking online and in surveys about their exceptional experiences at the resort, leading to formal recognition of the property's high quality services and facility. Complementing its distinction of being the only AAA Four Diamond designated property in Branson, the Chateau on the Lake was included in the just released Expedia Insiders' SelectTM 2008 ranking of the world's best hotels (www.expedia.com/insidersselect), earning a place on the list for a second consecutive year. Representing just 1 percent of all Expedia's selection of nearly 80,000 hotels and resorts, Expedia Insiders' Select is an easy-to-browse list of top hotels delivering excellent service, a great overall experience, and notable value as determined by more than 300,000 qualified reviews written by Expedia travelers worldwide.
"We find it especially rewarding when our guests are so moved by their memorable stays that they share their positive recommendations then exhibited in valued ranking systems such as the Expedia Insiders' Select list," Marshall said.
About Chateau on the Lake Resort, Spa & Convention Center
Luxury, old world charm and refined amenities await guests at the Chateau on the Lake Resort, Spa & Convention Center, which was designed with the discriminating traveler in mind. Visitors to this grand resort ─ known as the "Castle in the Ozarks" ─ experience the finest in world-class hospitality, first-class Branson lodging, and the enchanting allure of the Chateau's personal touches.
Located five miles from Branson's entertainment center, high atop a mountain overlooking Table Rock Lake, Chateau on the Lake features 301 graciously appointed rooms and suites that offer luxurious amenities. Balconies with spectacular views of the lake, resort marina and bounteous gardens enhance guest accommodations. With 43,500 square feet of meeting space, the property represents the largest combined meeting facilities of any hotel in Branson. Guided by the inspiration of Mr. John Q. Hammons, memorable touches of European style abound throughout Chateau on the Lake. Visitors are greeted by 10 hand-painted murals, which grace the 27-foot-high ceiling of the 32,000-square-foot Great Hall ─ a lavish and frequent setting for weddings. A 46-foot tree surrounded by waterfalls in the 10-story atrium is eye-catching, while the property's Sweet Shoppe is popular for its decadent selection of pastries and frozen desserts.
The $6 million, 14,000-square-foot Spa Chateau is a palace of pure indulgence, where signature treatments blend rich elements of the Ozarks with exotic European therapies. The spa lobby features a 30-foot Swarovski crystal waterfall chandelier with 25,000 crystals.
To make a hotel reservation or to book a group function, call 1-888-33-LAKE (5253), contact your travel agent or visit the hotel's Web site at www.chateauonthelakebranson.com. The resort also can be booked under the following GDS codes: Amadeus LM SGF396, Galileo LM 83422, Sabre LM 35627 and Worldspan LM 02396.
About John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts
Springfield, Mo.-based John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts is the nation's leading independent builder, developer, owner and manager of upscale, full-service hotels, resorts and suites, including: Embassy Suites Hotels, Renaissance, Marriott, Radisson, Residence Inn, Homewood Suites by Hilton, Holiday Inn and Courtyard by Marriott brands. With 76 hotels strategically located near demand generators, such as state capitals, universities, airports, corporate headquarters or office parks in secondary and tertiary markets, John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts' properties are dominant in their markets. Over the course of his impressive career in the hotel business, Mr. Hammons has developed 199 hotels. For more information about John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts, please visit the company's Web site at www.jqhhotels.com.