The Festival of Wonder

There’s always something new at Branson’s Silver Dollar City

BRANSON, Missouri – Do you ever feel like your favorite amusement park is the same year after year after year?

That’s not true with Silver Dollar City.

The folks who run Silver Dollar City are constantly checking with visitors to see what they like and don’t like and each season is unique in many aspects.

That’s true again in 2017.

In 2017, Silver Dollar City is hosting the “Year of Food and Crafts.” It celebrates the art of American fine craftsmanship with new handcrafted items, and signature dining experiences with over 200 new specialty foods throughout the season.

Through April 30, Silver Dollar City is presenting “The Festival of Wonder” with amazing shows and really, really tasty food.

We sampled the “Foods of Wonder” – a list that includes “The World of Bacon” (my favorite); “Fry Bread Heaven”; “Curious Kabobs”; “Louisiana-Style Big Batch Cooking”; new flat-bread creations; cinnamon rolls and “bodacious brownies” plus some delicious blended drinks (similar to milk shakes).

I tried the chocolate-covered bacon and bacon cannoli. My wife tried the alligator on a stick and I tried a gourmet cupcake with lime icing.

Please don’t eat before you go and take advantage of this wonderful menu. The park still serves the regular favorites, like skillet dinners, but these are wonderful treats in April.

One of the shows we saw was the Balancing Wonders. Some amazing performers did some tricks that would put most of us in a hospital (or a least a trip to the chiropractor). A live band added to the show.

People were raving about the Earth Harp Collective, with the world’s largest playable stringed instrument. The Earth Harp has strings stretched the length of Red Gold Heritage Hall. It vibrates above the audience under the skilled hand of William Close, who was a finalist on America’s Got Talent.

The Flamenco Kings are seven brothers who are some the world’s foremost flamenco dancers. They combine flamenco, tap, martial arts, street dance and acrobatics. Believe it or not, they even dance the flamenco upside down.

Silver Dollar City will host the Bluegrass and BBQ festival May 4 through May 29. Legendary blue grass singer/musician Ricky Skaggs will be at Silver Dollar City on May 28. The festival has booked more than 20 bands, including Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Ronda Vincent & The Rage, Grascals and Special Consensus.

From June 3 through July 16, Silver Dollar City celebrates with the “Star Spangled Summer.” This will include the return of the Harlem Globetrotters with “The Globetrotter Experience.” This will be the last season for this show.

The Championship Cloggers will be in Boatworks Theater and the “Star Spangled Summer” will feature storytelling at the Half Dollar Holler.

In August, the park plans to reveal a gigantic new attraction that is already under construction. Lips are sealed about what this new feature will be.

Kids will love the rides. Moms and Dads will enjoy the shows and crafts. Grandmas and Grandpas will get a kick out of the shopping and the amazing food.

It’s impossible to experience everything in one day. A season pass costs less than double of a one-day pass, so that’s the best deal.

The Festival of Wonder runs through April 30 at the 1880s-style theme park in Branson, Missouri. The park presents seven additional festivals and events through December 31, 2017 and January 1, 2018.

By the way, we stayed at the Best Western Branson Inn and Conference Center on State Highway 76 about one half mile west of the turnoff to Silver Dollar City. It is a reasonably priced hotel with a nice indoor pool, a very friendly staff and one of the best complimentary hot breakfasts (eggs, bacon, cinnamon rolls, biscuits, waffles, etc.) in Branson. They have hourly shuttles to the park that are extremely handy.

And one of the great benefits of Silver Dollar City (and Best Western Branson Inn and Conference Center) is that they are run by Christian folks who show their faith in attitude and action.

For information on tickets and scheduling, go to