Christmas is a special occasion at Silver Dollar City

BRANSON, Mo. – Visiting Silver Dollar City during the Christmas season is like a trip back in time to better days.

With the arrival of cooler temperatures, it was wonderful to see the lighting of the gigantic five-story Christmas tree in the Main Street Square. It was almost as much fun to see the faces of the little children with their families as the music/light show itself.

The Special Effects Christmas Tree on the Square has over 350,000 colorful LED lights. It is the centerpiece of the Christmas on Main Street light and sound shows beginning at dusk each evening. The tree plays Christmas songs with up to 100 light changes per second.

The kids really like Rudolph’s Holly Jolly Christmas Light Parade, with Rudolph as grand marshal. The evening parade has nine musical, lighted floats, illuminated with 200,000 ultra-bright LED lights. The floats have 33 colorful costumed characters, including Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster, 14-foot moose characters, 12-foot tall elves and 10-foot candy canes, plus penguins, elves and a troupe of marching wooden soldiers.

It’s hard to take in all of Christmas at Silver Dollar City in one day.

An Old Time Christmas includes two Broadway-style musicals; It’s a Wonderful Life and A Dickens’ Christmas Carol. Everyone is familiar with the film version of It’s a Wonderful Life with Jimmy Stewart. The Silver Dollar City includes unique special effects and a cast of 14 singers/actors. A Dickens’ Christmas Carol is an original musical adaptation of a the story and includes flying spirits, pyrotechnic special effects and a cast of 15 with a live band.

These productions are as professional as you can find anywhere and they are particularly meaningful in such a spiritual setting as Silver Dollar City.

I enjoyed The Living Nativity: For Unto Us A Child Is Born. It lasts less than 30 minutes but it contains some wonderful Christmas music and even better, a clear presentation of the meaning of Christmas – the birth of Jesus Christ.

Do you like Cajun music? Cajun Connection: Christmas on the Bayou would be right up your alley. This 25-minute show delivers you Christmas in Louisiana.

By the way, most of the license plates you see in Branson and Silver Dollar City predictably are from Missouri. Arkansas plates seem to be No. 2 while Oklahoma or Kansas seem to come in third. I saw a bunch of Oklahoma Sooner and Oklahoma State Cowboy sweatshirts at Silver Dollar City.

There was a packed audience for Tinker Junior’s Toy Shop, which stars a 12-foot tall talking Christmas tree that talks, sings and interacts with kids, accompanied by huge toy characters. If you like a little spice for Christmas, try the Frontier Fa-La-La-La Follies with Charlie, The Saloon Girls and the Silver Dollar Band.

Silver Dollar City always showcases fine craftsmanship. There are daily demonstrations at the candy factory, the woodcarvers, the pottery shop, the taffy store, the candle shop, the Mountain Leather store, Sullivan’s Mill, the Blown Glass Factory and the Wilderness Road Blacksmith.

If you like well-crafted knives, you have to visit the Mountain Outfitters Knife Shop just down the hill from Main Street.

The food is great at Silver Dollar City at Christmas but be aware that there can be long lines at lunch and dinner times. Eva and Delilah’s Bakery near the entrance to the park serves wonderful baked goods like homemade cinnamon rolls and for Christmas, huge gingerbread men.  In case you aren’t getting enough food this Thanksgiving and Christmas, Silver Dollar City has three – that’s right three – all-you-can-eat holiday buffets. That’s the Molly’s Mill holiday buffet, the Lucky Silver Mine Christmas barbecue buffet and the Reunion Hall prime rib buffet. These are a little pricey but the food is outstanding.

Branson is only 200 miles from Tulsa and is a wonderful vacation destination for families and for anyone who wants clean, wholesome entertainment. If you plan on going to Silver Dollar City more than once in 2017, the smart thing to do is buy a season pass. They cost less than a two-day pass and there is a discount if you buy before January 3.

Season tickets holders also get a discount for tickets to the Showboat Branson Belle, which also puts on a great Christmas celebration.

For information, call 800-831-4FUN (386) or visit www.silverdollarcity.com.