Branson Trip – November 21 through 24, 2002           back
Thursday, November 21, 2002
Departed Oklahoma City at 8:05 to Bentonville, Arkansas. Arrived at 11:05 to visit the Wal – Mart Museum on the town square in the Visitor’s Center. Highlights of the museum included the one millionth square footage of the store. The history of the Wal-Mart stores USA and International…even in Japan! The history of Sam and his family and the actual truck Sam drove around to hunt in with his dog.

We ate lunch at the little café next door…real American style hamburgers and shakes.

Departed to Branson at 12:00

Arrived in Branson, Missouri at 1:30 after a winding trek through the Mark Twain forest. Too late in the season to enjoy the fall foliage, but it was still a pretty drive.

Our lodging was at the beautiful Pointe Royal condominiums in Branson. The condo had three bedrooms, one master for Leona and two upstairs for Tony, Margee and Dale, Sandy. Nice comfy country décor, with patio and deck. Full kitchen, laundry and large living/dining room.

We unpacked and headed to the first show at the Mel Tillis theater to see…you guessed it….Mel Tillis. Before the show we shopped the gift store and viewed Mel Tillis’s painting in the gallery at the theatre. The art instructor at the gallery gave us an overview of his paintings and that he was only a 3 year student, definitely shows talent.

The show started at 8:00pm with all the Christmas trim and music. Mel delighted us with his own brand of…humor. Daughter Pam Tillis was a hit with her wide vocal range and power. They joined in a duet and they sang with two of her sisters and the nieces and nephews even got in the act. Beautiful dresses and lots of snow (artificial that is).

Friday, November 22, 2002

Off to Siver Doller City with a side stop at the Lace store. Beautiful, beautiful lace filled the store, curtains, tablecloths, wall hangings and ornaments. The German lace was the most beautiful and pricey.

Arrived at SiverDollar City and peered upon the 25ft. wreath! Ventured inside to enjoy the strolling quartet of men dressed in 19th century attire. The Opera House loured us in to watch a Christmas show. Beautiful singing, costumes and clever set – the log cabin opened and closed to create new settings! Really good show. We wound around the shops and sights to an outdoor show with…you guessed it…Christmas music! As the day progressed so did the appearance of the 4 million twinkling lights on everything…trees, building and even on Santa hats! It was just lovely. After we stuffed ourselves with Kettle Korn…yummy we all watched the 25ft. Christmas Tree perform! Complete with music synchronized to the hundreds of lights and angels and stars on the tree. A cute little parade marched by with Christmas characters for our pleasure. It was fun sunny COLD day!

The show that evening was Dino at the American Mansion Theater. Beautiful Antebellum style theater. The seats were great, third row back and center with complete view of Dino fingers caressing the keys! Absolutely beautiful music…guess. You’re right…Christmas music! His opening number started with him suspended in air at the grand piano…really cool. Super costumes and very talented performers. His wife also sang.

Saturday, November 23, 2002

Off to the Branson Belle to cruise Table Rock Lake. Unfortunately the wind was too strong for the paddle boat to cruise on the lake, so we just ventured around the four story outside deck with full view of the lake. The dinner show included and fully meal and desert with a variety of entertainment. A Dixieland jazz band, singers, dancers, and acrobats. The entire audience physically performed A Partridge in a Pear Tree song – our area of tables performed nine ladies dancing. Good food, show and beautiful boat along with super nice weather around 70 degrees!!

The show for the evening was the grand finale of our trip and what a finale! Shoji Tabuchi just fiddled around for all of us! He fiddled…yep…Christmas music country to Classical! We just loved the variety of acts and costumes. A special act included the use of a black light with neon colored characters seeming to “float” on stage along with a fiddle and bow appearing only as Shoji played. The mice, the bears, the reindeer and the Santa’s were so clever and funny. A wind-up ballerina, rockin’ guitar girls and dancing cows just made the show such fun. Snow, confetti in all shapes with balloons would pour from the ceiling to everyone’s delight during different parts of the show. The beautiful costumes decorated with lights added a dreamy touch. Even a handbell choir performed! Just a lovely way to usher in the season. Shoji graciously joined the audience at the intermission for autographs and photos, Tony had his photo taken by Sandy with Shoji.

Sunday, November 24, 2002

Heading back home, stopped by a block long gift shop to see the snowing Christmas tree. We enjoyed a wonderful fun lunch at Lambert’s Restaurant Ozark, Missouri. The waiters would actually throw hot fresh rolls at you if you raised up your hands to catch as they carted by. Interesting way to be served your food as well. Dale and Sandy’s food was served in a skillet and waiters would pass by now and then with servings of different veggies, fried okra, fried tators, etc. delicious!

Quick stop at Springfield to chase through the Bass Pro Shop arriving into OKC at 6:30