by Sydney Stone
I have stars in my eyes, just thinking about what’s happening in Branson in 2019. (2019! Where does the time go!) Two stars are going to be feeding us starting this year — Paula Deen and Jimmy Buffet are bringing their signature restaurants to Branson. Paul Deen’s Family Kitchen and Jimmy Buffet’s Landshark Bar & Grill will be “on the menu” at Branson Landing. The Tracks’ new Skyscraper ride will have you closer to the stars when you experience it. Silver Dollar City has exciting news … AND — Shrek is coming to Branson!
The Welk Resort Theatre is presenting Shrek the Musical this summer, June 8 thru August 10. It’s a Tony Award-winning “fairy tale adventure.” What an entertaining story, with the lovable ogre, his wisecracking donkey, and the cast of ”fairy tale misfits.” It’s fun, comical, and there are poignant moments, too. (My youngest granddaughter always watches me to see when I’ll tear up!) I think your entire family will love seeing these favorite characters come to life, complete with some new songs. Million Dollar Quartet, one of my favorite shows here, is on stage at the Welk Resort Theatre August 29 thru November 30.
The Skyscraper — thrill-seeking “kids of all ages” will love this 170 ft. tall ride that “resembles a giant windmill, with propeller arms turning at 60 mph. The Skyscraper is about a half-mile from The Tracks’ Ferris Wheel. They’re planning to have Skyscraper up and whirling by Spring Break. (In the interest of full disclosure … the Ferris Wheel is more my speed!) Bonus fact: Michael Haygood, of The Haygoods, is doing the lighting. You’ve seen his astonishing light work on the Branson Ferris Wheel as well as in the Haygoods Show; 2019 is their 27th year in Branson.
There’s always something to do here with Branson shows and Branson attractions. Titanic Museum Attraction and Butterfly Palace & Rainforest Adventure are both wonderful venues open year ‘round. The National Tiger Sanctuary is extraordinary. It’s a well-kept facility where they take great care of big cats who weren’t being treated right, have been “retired,” etc. They have room to run and play, climb and cavort. You’ll be impressed. Open all year, closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
Dolly Parton’s Stampede Dinner Attraction opens February 20 for the 2019 season. I love the gorgeous horses and wonderful production numbers, and I honestly think the food is fabulous.
Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theater (home of Legends in Concert) ~ Gary Lewis & the Playboys and Dennis Tufano; Moe Bandy; T.G. Sheppard; Lee Greenwood Christmas Show; Crystal Gayle Christmas Show. AND April 14 there is the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Contest!
Yakov Smirnoff has July, October, November, and December dates at his theater. I like his show; it entertains, inspires, and puts a fresh, often hilarious perspective on what it means to be an American.
Silver Dollar City’s “Year of Shows & Festivals” includes this summer’s Reuben’s Swashbuckling Adventure and Pumpkin Nights this fall. Come Christmas there’ll be a new 80-ft. Christmas tree in the new “Joy on Town Square.” Always lots of food and fun at Silver Dollar City!
I think Jimmy Buffet’s Landshark Bar & Grill and Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen will be great fun, more than just a place to eat. Good food, yes, and I know there will be merchandise available. I’d like one of Paula’s cookbooks … or an apron … does she sell those? I’m looking forward to the “beach joint” atmosphere of the Landshark, and I’m pretty sure you’ll be able to buy a Landshark T-shirt or margarita glass. Paula was in town last year; several of my friends met her and told me how friendly she was, stopping to chat with everyone as she walked along the Landing. I want to meet her next time! I wonder if Jimmy will make an appearance. It’s a little far inland for him, but you never know. I’d love to see him! Stay tuned … and have fun in Branson in 2019!