Best of 417 2008—Entertainment

DISCLAIMER: The information in this article was fact checked and accurate at press time, but 417 Magazine cannot guarantee its accuracy indefinitely.

To find out how to contact each and every one of these winners, check out our Best of 417 Resource Guide

Best Comedy Show
The Skinny Improv

How the Skinny Improv has changed in 2007! Not only did founder Jeff Jenkins’s comedy show/troupe/nonprofit cottage industry get a new and bigger theatre space on Park Central East, it also coped with the departure of the talented Nick Semar and Joe Swink. The product hasn’t suffered from the shakeup: Watch the up-and-coming Tim Lee add new dimension to this family-friendly (set of) show(s). The Skinny Improv: It’s not just for church youth groups anymore.
Runners-up: Yakov Smirnoff, Jim Stafford

Best Live Music Venue
Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theatre
This tailfin paradise opened in April 2006, and folks started to embrace it immediately. Artists such as Bill Medley, Paul Revere and the Raiders and Bob Anderson perform here, and the atmosphere features pristinely preserved classic cars and other memorabilia. The experience lives up to Dick Clark’s blue-chip brand.
Runners-up: Outland Ballroom, Cartoons

Best Place for a Bike Ride
Ozark Greenways

This is far from one specific place, rather, it’s a network of places. Hundreds of linear miles of the Ozark Greenways system allow residents to run, walk and especially bike in Springfield and the nearby country. Our favorite bike route on the Greenways is the Galloway trail—not a lot of hills, leisurely, except for one bit that’s a super-straight up and down bump. “It’s not a hard ride at all, but it has a mini-adventure right in the middle,” says one of our editors.
Runners-up: Wilson’s Creek Trail, Dogwood Canyon

Best Place to Be Seen
Downtown Springfield
Central Springfield is a great place to be seen. There are different kinds of seeing: There are posh dinnertime chance-meetings with friends at Bijan’s or Gallery Bistro. There’s the chance to hobnob with fellow art-lovers at First Friday Art Walk or see the town’s elite at a performance at the new and revved-up Gillioz Theatre, among others. Come bar time on a weekend night, you can also see 21-year-olds hobbling down the street or the “sidewalk sales” taking place at Jimmy John’s or in front of Martha’s Vineyard.

Branson Landing
At Branson Landing, the “lifestyle center” shopping district arrangement gives you that chance to wander your way along on foot without pesky cars being in the way. In the same way that Joplin and West Plains people run into each other when they’re in Springfield, Springfield people run into each other at Branson Landing. It’s also fun to go to restaurants such as the new White River Fish House and gaze out at Lake Taneycomo.
Runners-up: Hammons Field, Best of 417 Party

Best Branson Show
Dixie Stampede
It’s a spectacular spectacular, Branson-style. Originated by Dolly Parton, Dixie Stampede offers a four-course country dinner plus entertainment including horses, stunts and magic. Tip: If you get to the show an hour early, you can tour the stables and see the various breeds of horses.
Runners-up: Kirby VanBurch, Andy Williams and Shoji Tabuchi

Best People- and Animal-Watching
Bar Louie, Branson
In the summertime, sitting on the patio here at Branson Landing is fun enough for us. It’s even better when you sit on the lakeside terrace just at the edge of the massive open doors to the restaurant’s interior, feeling the air-conditioning brush your back. (Insert carbon-footprint guilt here.) Then look across Lake Taneycomo up at the green hillside near Candlestick Inn. If you’re as lucky as we were one afternoon last August, you might see a peaceable kingdom of deer, birds and even a fox or two.

Best Place to get Married
Eureka Springs, Arkansas
No, it’s not in 417-land. But as the current edition of 417 Bride magazine shows, 417-landers like Susan Jackson-Falls choose it as a spot to tie the knot.
Runners-up: Elfindale, Drury University Stone Chapel

Best Place to Go Dancing
Icon Nightclub

Entrepreneur Paul Sundy’s downtown dance palace definitely brings a big-city nightclub vibe to Springfield. Fun fact: Look for fashion shows at Icon, which hosts GO Magazine’s Fashion Icons event March 7.
Runners-up: Cartoons, Martha’s Vineyard, Club 57 (Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theatre)

Best Place to Take a Tourist
Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World

There’s a live shooting range, a buffet, gear of all kinds, a waterfall, aquarium, a boat showroom, plenty of outdoor gear of all kinds… all of it practically screaming “welcome to the Ozarks.” If you want to put your out-of-town friends and family in touch with a part of southwest Missouri’s soul, head here first.
Runners-up: Branson Landing, Silver Dollar City

Best Girly Party (KIDS)
Ellie Berry Pie
Play dress-up at this party-space that offers young girls a chance to don sassy outfits for a photo shoot.
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