Silver Dollar City in Branson goes all out for Christmas

BRANSON, Mo. – Silver Dollar City’s An Old Time Christmas has been expanded with 1.5 million more lights (a total of 6.5 million) with light displays nine stories tall.

A new feature in 2017 is Christmas In Midtown Light Spectacular. The festival features an evening light parade, two Broadway-style original musical productions, a 5-Story Special Effects Christmas tree with a sound and light show and holiday dining. All this is available through December 30.

The largest single lighting expansion in the past 2 decades of the festival, Christmas In Midtown fills over an acre — 70,000 square feet — with 145 miles of LED lights. Huge light tunnels and wreath portals lead into the area, which includes flying angels, running reindeer, moving trains, a tree 90 feet high, musical trees with moving lights, dozens of stars and snowflakes, and a giant turning globe, all created at Silver Dollar City.

The light experience begins on the Square with the 5-Story Special Effects Christmas Tree, a massive tree with over 350,000 colorful LED lights. Beginning at dusk each evening, the tree blazes to the movements of Christmas songs, with up to 100 light changes per second, while lights around the Square flash along.

A parade of lights, Rudolph’s Holly Jolly Christmas Light Parade, winds through the streets of the City twice each evening. As Grand Marshal, Rudolph leads the evening parade of nine musical, lighted floats, illuminated with 200,000 LED lights. The parade is accompanied by 45 colorful costumed characters, including Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster, 14-foot moose characters, 12-foot tall elves, 10-foot candy canes, penguins, elves and marching wooden soldiers.

The festival also features two original musical productions, A Dickens’ Christmas Carol and It’s a Wonderful Life. A Dickens’ Christmas Carol is an adaptation of the Dickens classic, with revolving sets, flying spirits, pyrotechnic special effects and a cast of 15, accompanied by a live band. It’s a Wonderful Life presents a musical interpretation of the classic film, with unique special effects and a cast of 14 singers/actors.

Popular festival features include shows such as Tinker Junior’s Toy Shop, with a 12-foot talking Christmas tree; a dramatic musical Living Nativity; strolling carolers; and holiday foods from a prime rib buffet to fresh-made fruitcakes, ginger cookies and hot wassail. Also, the park’s 100 demonstrating craftsmen create one-of-a-kind handmade holiday items.

Since its debut more than two decades ago, Silver Dollar City’s An Old Time Christmas has been profiled as one of the top holiday celebrations by USA Today, CNN Travel, The Travel Channel and Good Morning America.

During An Old Time Christmas, Silver Dollar City is open Thursdays – Sundays through December 23, plus Wednesdays Nov. 22 and Dec. 20; closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and open daily December 26-30. Hours are 1 to 9 p.m. most days, with extended hours on Saturdays and Thanksgiving weekend.

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

The Showboat Branson Belle has a new Celebrate Christmas headline show and expanded Santa’s Pancakes & PJs cruises for kids. Holiday cruises run through January 1.

The new Celebrate Christmas show cast performs new musical segments as well as classic and contemporary Christmas favorites. The show features the vocal and dance group The ShowMen, vocalist Cassandré Faimon-Haygood and the percussive dance group Rhythm, with contemporary selections from the Beach Boys to Michael Bublé to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. The show is hosted by comedian and magician Christopher James, accompanied by The Rockin’ Dockers live band, and includes a White Christmas snow finale.

With expanded dates, Santa’s Pancakes & PJs Cruises offer little ones the chance to dress up in their favorite holiday PJs and have a Christmas adventure as they are guided by map through the ship’s four decks. Costumed elves and fairies greet the kids at Sugar Plum Fairy Sweet Stops, face painting stations and Christmas wish list writing posts, while in the Wheelhouse, the Showboat Captain has a story and special gift for each kid. Then, all gather in the ship’s dining theater for a pancake breakfast with entertainment, story time and sing-alongs. Following the cruise, kids can visit with Santa on the dock.

The Showboat’s Christmas cruises run through December 30, with special New Year’s Eve cruises on December 31 and January 1. Santa’s Pancakes & PJs cruises are offered at 9 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays through December 23. For information and schedules, visit www.showboatbransonbelle.com or call 800-775-BOAT(2628).