I recently had the opportunity to visit Branson after the tornado hit and this is what I found…
Welcome back. This week it’s live from Branson, Mo. where even an F2 tornado has done little to slow the flow of visitors. Although Branson’s Variety Theater where the Twelve Irish Tenors perform was heavily damaged, the Victorian Hotel, which is right next door, was untouched. The theaters where some of my other favorites perform including the Duttons, The Presleys, my friend Jim Stafford and The Baldnobbers also had no damage at all.
A couple of the famous ducks which weigh more than two tons apiece and cost $350,000 each got flipped over but I am happy to report they’re back in action now taking people out on Table Rock Lake for a ride you don’t want to miss when you’re here.
The Hollywood Wax Museum featuring King Kong sitting 100 feet in the air on top of the Empire State Building also had no damage even though T-shirt shops on both sides were destroyed. I saw little damage to the Branson Landing area of shops and old town also reported no trouble. The Hilton Branson Convention Center hotel near Branson Landing had more than 100 windows blown out but in order to make them all match they are replacing 3,800 windows and anticipate that they won’t be open until September.
An area around the Monster Museum including a hotel and smaller strip mall did suffer major destruction along with several fast food joints but construction crews are already putting them all back together. Silver Dollar City had no damage at all and that area of the strip looked normal.
The giant White Water Park and the Showboat Branson Belle whose seasons are just about to start, along with the Yakov Smirnoff Theater and the Oak Ridge Boys’ show house were all spared. To sum up, even though the damage totals in the millions of dollars it is miniscule in the big picture and no lives were lost.
Malls are open, variety shows are going on every day, Silver Dollar City is open and the traffic on Route 76, or the strip as I call it, is back to normal “busy”. Now is also a good to go before school gets out, there are discounts everywhere, hotel space is plentiful and the spring weather’s fine. It’s a nice time for a dinner cruise on Lake Taneycomo which I think I’ll do right now.
Till next week I’ll see ya down the road…..