Branson is an Ozark town in southwest Missouri known as a family vacation destination. Its 76 Country Boulevard is famously lined with theaters, which once hosted mostly country music performers but today present diverse entertainment. Also along the strip are the Marvel Cave, the Wild West-style Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede Dinner Attraction and Silver Dollar City, a 1800s-themed amusement park with live music.
The Home of American Craftsmanship presents the nation's largest festival of demonstrating craftsmen, with entertainment and activities saluting the Great American Cowboy:
Over 125 visiting craftsmen from around the country demonstrate their art, including Best of Missouri Hands juried artists, all joining Silver Dollar City's 100 demonstrating craftsmen. Silver Dollar City's Wild West Show features trick riders, Native American dance with 8-time World Champion Native American Hoop Dancer Nakotah LaRance, comedy canines, and trick roper and bullwhip artist A.J. Silver. Legendary Western actor and watercolor artist Buck Taylor hosts "Buck Taylor's Cowboy Emporium," featuring a variety of Western crafts. Plus Chuck Wagon & Food Network Chef Kent Rollins and Extreme Mustangs are featured in the Red Gold courtyard. A Western Barn Dance presents a kick-up-your-heels fun, with a live band. Western music with groups including The Malpass Brothers, The Home Rangers, Belinda Gail and Kristyn Harris, 2016 Western Music Association Entertainer of the Year. NEW: The nation's pioneer culinary heritage comes to life with campfire cooking and cowboy cuisine, including Cowboy Beef Stew and Dutch Oven Desserts. The National Crafts & Cowboy Festival event draws approximately 300,000 visitors each year. Festival history: Silver Dollar City began the fall crafts festival tradition in 1963, bringing in visiting craftsmen in addition to the park's growing resident crafts colony, with the goal of showcasing the makers along with the finished artwork. More than half a century later, a unique feature still is that all visiting crafters, as with the park's owner, demonstrate their work so guests see the process, the skill and the creativity of true craftsmanship. This became the nation's largest festival of demonstrating craftsmen. The focus on authentic craftsmanship was one of the reasons the U.S. Congress in 2010 proclaimed Silver Dollar City the "Home of American Craftsmanship." In addition to craftsmen, Silver Dollar City added features with another American icon several years ago, the cowboy, to carry on the festival as The National Crafts & Cowboy Festival.
Christened: April 13, 1995
Length: 278 feet (almost the size of a football field)
Width: 78 feet
Height: 112 feet and 3 inches (to the top of the stacks)
Draft: 7 ½ feet (the part of the Showboat under the water)
Paddlewheels: Twin wheels; each is 24 feet in diameter and 16 feet wide
Most people don’t realize that the Showboat Branson Belle is a true sternwheeler propelled through the water by the two huge rear paddlewheels, each with its own dedicated, independent motor. The bow and stern thrusters are used only for docking and undocking maneuvering.
Captain's Wheel: 10 feet, 2 inches in diameter, made of solid maple wood. Restored from the C.C. Slider which operated 1928 - 1952 And, yes, it does steer the Showboat!
Weight: 2.5 million pounds
Speed: Peak - 11 m.p.h.; Average 6 m.p.h.
Lunch Cruise: 12:00 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.
Early Dinner Cruise: 4:00 p.m. – 6:15 p.m.
Sunset Dinner Cruise: 8:00 p.m. – 10:15 p.m.
Pass engineers: 700, plus the crew
Cost: $8 million
Location: Highway 165, south of Table Rock Dam, just south of Branson Highway 76.
Showboats, long the theme of romantic legend and lore, first appeared in the early 1800s. Noted for their opulence and beauty, these majestic floating palaces brought culture and extraordinary entertainment from the big cities to America’s country and provided a livelihood for many families in towns along the river.
Dedicated to the riverboat adventurers of yesteryear, the Showboat Branson Belle re-creates this era with pride. Guests embark to transcend time, returning to a period in American history full of adventure and river romance.
The Banana Launch
On August 12, 1994, the Showboat Branson Belle traveled 140 feet from its shoreline shipyard to splash into the waters of Table Rock Lake during the nationally-publicized Great Banana Launch Watch Party Two tons of bananas, acting as a biodegradable natural lubricant in place of grease or oil, packed the launching rails to glide the massive football-field-sized ship into the water.
Believed to be the largest excursion vessel operating in a landlocked waterway, the Showboat Branson Belle is one of the few vessels of its size which does not offer any form of gambling.
The Most Beautiful Way to See the Lake Today
The Grand Inaugural of the Showboat Branson Belle took passengers for their first cruise on scenic Table Rock Lake in April 1995. The majestic Showboat Branson Belle continues to offer the finest way to see the lake, from four spacious decks.
Enjoy a delicious meal prepared fresh in the ship’s onboard galley and served directly to your table as you enjoy award-winning and spectacular shows. You’re invited to a world of theatrical entertainment, fine dining and family adventure for noon or dinner cruises.
Silver Dollar Citys An Old Time Christmas festival, this year adding a huge new area: Christmas in Midtown, with towering light, displays 9 stories high, animated figures in lights, and 1.5 million additional lights, bringing the park total to over 6.5 million lights! Christmas in Midtown is their largest single lighting expansion in the past 20 years of this festival. Details below:
One of the nation's most acclaimed Christmas festivals, profiled by USA Today, CNN Travel, The Travel Channel, and Good Morning America, is even bigger and brighter this year with an all-new area: NEW: Christmas in Midtown, a 70,000 sq. ft. areas filled with new light displays 9 stories high, including 30 angels, animated reindeer pulling a sleigh, 3 light tunnels, two 40-foot long moving trains, dozens of stars and snowflakes, and a 50-foot tree, all created at Silver Dollar City. Christmas in Midtown, the largest single lighting expansion to date in the past 2 decades of the festival, adds 1.5 million new lights, bringing the park's total to 6.5 million lights! Rudolph's Holly Jolly Christmas Light Parade, led by the most famous reindeer of all, features musical lighted floats with 200,000 lights accompanied by 33 costumed characters. Rudolph's Christmas Town, where kids can meet Rudolph, Clarice and Bumble, also includes activities from Reindeer Games to cookie decorating. Two original musical productions present Broadway-style experiences, with elaborate sets and talented casts: It's a Wonderful Life, adapted from the Frank Capra classic, and the acclaimed production A Dickens' Christmas Carol. The Christmas on Main Street light & sound show features the 5-Story Special Effects Christmas Tree with over 350,000 colorful LED lights. Tinker Junior's Toy Shop is an interactive show for kids featuring a 12-foot talking and singing Christmas tree. Kids can meet Santa in Santa Claus Lane, illuminated in colorful lights. Plus, the festival presents holiday shows, a musical Living Nativity, shows, rides, shopping and new Silver Dollar City dining specialties.
This post is sponsored by Silver Dollar City Attractions and USFG*