Branson's 100th Birthday

Partake in Branson’s 100th birthday party, as you get reacquainted with the culture that constructed 417-land.

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

    When an early Ozarks settler named Reuben S. Branson submitted paperwork to the U.S. Post Office department in 1892 to open a general store and post office, he listed his community’s name as Branson. It caught on, and Branson was finally incorporated as a town on April 1, 1912.
Celebrate the town’s 100th birthday for free at Branson’s 100th Fest and Street Dance on July 7 from afternoon into evening at the Branson Landing parking lots that lead to the Branson Bridge on Lake Taneycomo. The festival is exactly 100 days after the centennial of Branson’s incorporation date and is the third in a series of celebrations for Branson’s centennial. The evening presents an opportunity for families to come together and experience the culture of the Ozarks—particularly river festivities, as well as the dancing, music and arts elements evident throughout the town’s existence.
Branson is well-known for its musical inclination, but you might be wondering how that came to be. Between 1912 and the large-scale development of the area were many challenging years. It was a difficult time period leading into the Depression era, and people struggled to make ends meet. Relying on music to feel better at the end of the day helped form a foundation in Branson. People started setting up small forms of entertainment on street corners and, before long, families established themselves with small theaters. It grew into more than just entertainment as they realized music was not only beneficial physically, mentally and emotionally, but fiscally, as well.
Branson’s 100th Fest and Street Dance features a variety of tents highlighting arts and crafts that originated in, around and for Branson, including artists working at their crafts. The food and beverage selection is also reflective of the area. The rest of the festival’s entertainment includes fireworks, flyovers from the U.S. military, and watercraft and skiing exhibitions highlighting Lake Taneycomo—the central viewpoint of the event. And because some of the events begin at dusk, the entertainers will take advantage of the transition from daylight into dark.

Branson in the 1940s (top) and Branson today look a whole lot different. Celebrate 100 years of the town’s growth with this month’s street fest.

    The event’s organizers are focused on making sure there’s something fun to do for everyone in the family. Kid activities include games and interactive fun stations. Parent-children activities include dancing, arts and crafts, and ways to keep cool with a few water-based activities.
Project Director of the Branson Centennial Celebration, Julee Cooke, says, “This family event gives you a wonderful chance to toot your horn and have fun.”

The 411

Branson’s 100th Fest and Street Dance
When: July 7
Where: Branson Landing parking lots and Branson Bridge
Cost: Free (some booths may require a small fee)
More info: Visit branson100.org

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