Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Fun in Branson, Missouri

We’d always thought we wanted to come to Branson some day, and then this rally showed up with our magazine from the Winnebago-Itasca Travelers Club. The timing was perfect, as we had planned to visit friends Cynthia and Wayne in Mountain Home, Arkansas, this spring or summer. Mountain Home is actually just across the lake, and south a little, from Branson.

So now our rally is in full swing, and the weather is fabulous, so far at least.

We met the other 18 couples Sunday, including the Rally Hosts. Other than the host couple, we are the only full-time RVers in the group. After an excellent pork barbecue dinner that evening (pulled pork with homemade BBQ sauce, spicy-savory beans, cole slaw, potato or macaroni salad, rolls, and peach cobbler), we got into a luxury Gray Line coach and headed into town.

The Jim Stafford show was outstanding comedy. Stafford is billed as the “Victor Borge of the Guitar,” and he really plays that instrument. A large part of the show was Stafford telling stories and interacting with the audience.

He included his son Shea (15) and daughter G.G. (11), both extremely talented on the piano, and Shea did a lively fiddle number. Our sides ached from laughter by the end of the show.

As with all major shows in Branson, good taste, family-rated humor, patriotism and just a touch of good old Christian faith were the basis of his performance.

Monday morning we hopped back on our tour bus and headed to Silver Dollar City (about two miles from here). Silver Dollar City is, plain and simple, a tourist attraction, but what a tourist attraction!

First we were greeted by Buckshot Granny, who took our picture at the entrance.

There are several rides, many of them designed to get you wet; entertain-
ment venues large and small; craftsmen and artisans displaying old-time tools and trades; and FOOD! This week is a special Bluegrass and Barbecue festival, and there were bluegrass groups playing in all the entertainment venues and in every nook and cranny where four or five musicians could gather and move their hands and feet. By the way, we learned that the signature instrument required for bluegrass is the mandolin, and every group playing had at least one, along with an assortment of fiddles, guitars, basses, and banjoes.

After walking a bit, I sat down next to this whittler. Suzy asked him what he was making and he replied, "A pile of cedar shavings"

We saw a cornball humor show complete with Can-Can girls in the Saloon (Suzy took this picture, folks, while I modestly averted my eyes!),

and a bluegrass concert in the Silver Dollar Opera House,

had lunch from a vendor stand (eaten by a waterfall), and frozen strawberry slush for dessert, then rode the bus back to the RV Park for a rest before dinner and a show featuring the Twelve Irish Tenors. (No photography was allowed here due to copyright rules.)

The Tenors show was a mixed bag. Well, yes, they were all tenors, they were all Irish (or Irish-American), they all had good singing voices. But the show opened with the twelve of them sitting on stools singing a very poor arrangement of Danny Boy. About mid-song, they got up and walked around a bit, then finished the song (which is a sad tale of death and homecoming), all of them with bright, happy smiles on their faces. For the balance of the show, the music was strong and dynamic or soft and gentle as appropriate. They sang a blend of Irish ballads, drinking songs, Beatles music, opera, swing and Broadway. They called to mind Simon and Garfunkel, Bobby Darin, Frank Sinatra, Barry Manilow. Following the intermission, the tenors removed their ties and, occasionally, their jackets, for very active dancing with their singing. So, half of the show had meaningless staging, and the other half was a lot better. All in all, we enjoyed the show.

And that’s just the first two days of a six-day episode in … Our Life on Wheels.


  1. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences. I really do enjoy them!!


  2. Great update on some of the entertainment in the Branson area. Gives us something to look for forward to.


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