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Silver Dollar City (SDC) Discussion Thread

P. 261: Arvest Bank announces 10 year sponsorship deal

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Silver Dollar City sent us a press release about the return of the National Harvest & Cowboy Festival!


Known for five decades for bringing the history, culture and craftsmanship of the 1880s Ozarks to life, Silver Dollar City's National Harvest & Cowboy Festival presents a showcase of adventure and art, from a stagecoach to the stages and cowboys to craftsmen. Features include a Wild West Show, the return of the park's historic stagecoach, Western music and art, a barn dance and hundreds of demonstrating craftsmen. The festival runs September 14 - October 29 at the Branson, Missouri theme park.


The Silver Dollar City Wild West Show captures the excitement of the traveling wild west shows of the 1880s, featuring trick riders, Native American dance with 8-time World Champion Native American Hoop Dancer Nakotah LaRance, comedy canines, and trick roper and bullwhip artist A.J. Silver. The Wild West Show runs through October 16.


The festival marks the homecoming of the historic Silver Dollar City Stagecoach, an authentic 1880s stagecoach that was part of the Overland Stage Line carrying mail and passengers out West before it became one of the first rides at Silver Dollar City in the early 1960s. The restored coach is an artifact of American and Silver Dollar City history.


A major spotlight is craftsmanship, as the park features 125 top craftsmen from around the country, including Best of Missouri Hands juried artists and a showcase of Western artists, all joining Silver Dollar City's100 resident craftsmen. Featured crafts include weaving, jewelry making, stained glass, basket making, gourd carving and painting.


Additional Festival Features:

  • "Buck Taylor's Cowboy Emporium" with a variety of Western crafts from painting to moccasin making, hosted by Western actor and watercolor artist Buck Taylor
  • Western musicians including Western Album of the Year winner Belinda Gail, Vocalist of the Year Syd Masters, Western Music Association Female Performer of the Year Kristyn Harris, and Horse Crazy Cowgirl Band
  • Chuck wagon historian and chefKent Rollins, whose talents have landed him on the Food Network's "Chopped" and "Throwdown with Bobby Flay," with trail-side cooking
  • Extreme Mustang Makeovers with mustang expert Fred Woehl, who tames and trains rescued wild mustangs during the festival
  • Award-winning Cowboy Poet Chris Isaacs, a three-time winner of the Academy of Western Artists "Will Rogers Award"
  • The Barn Dance with an open dance floor for guests to strut, slide and stomp, with live music by the Horsecreek Band


Fall harvest activities from sorghum and apple butter making are demonstrated on the Square, and harvest-time foods are served up throughout the park.


The National Harvest Festival runs September 14 - October 29 at the Branson, Missouri theme park, open Wednesdays through Sundays, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., and 9:30 a.m. - 6 p.m. on Saturdays. Information: 800-831-4FUN(386) or http://www.silverdollarcity.com.






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From this time till the end of the season is the time the park really shines. I love it. The fall scenery matched with the decor in this heavily wooded park makes for a great atmosphere. Then when you add lights and such at Christmas it gets even better. Its been on my bucket list to attend when there is snow on the ground or while its actually snowing. (yes the park stays in limited operation when that happens)

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I was at SDC on Friday, and it was great. The only negative was how hot it was. Created a bit of a weird feeling because I'm not used to being at SDC when it's 90-degrees out (I tend to avoid the summer and go in the spring and fall & Christmas).


The crowds were light, which helped us do quite a bit. I was with my dad, my sister, my bro-in-law, and my three nieces (ages 8 [N8], 3 [N3], and 1 [N1]).


First up was Grandfather's Mansion, which was one of the only things N8 remembered from her last time at SDC (which was when she was only 3). She loved it, but N3 was not fond; she's currently going through a "scared of the dark" phase, so she wasn't easy to please with the indoor stuff.


We went to the Saloon Show after that. I hadn't been to the park since 2013, so I hadn't gotten to see the revived Mean Murphy show. I loved it! I was so happy to get that shot of nostalgia from when I was a kid (the Mean Murphy show was the show they did back in the mid-90s when I first went to SDC). I also enjoyed seeing Dave and Rachel still front-lining the show; they're both so talented! The girls all liked it, except N3 was scared of the gunshots.


I am autistic and sudden loud noises severely distress me, so I had to make sure to ask Ma Hatfield as we got in the queue if there were real gunshots or recorded, as that had been the case a few years ago; they are using blanks again, so if you or a family member has trouble with loud noises, be prepared. Additionally, they use very heavy strobe lighting in the finale of the show, so be aware if you or a loved one suffers from seizures.


After the Saloon, we headed over to Fire in the Hole. I sat with N8; my BIL sat with N3.... Yeah. Well, that was not the best ride to go on. N8 had never ridden a coaster aside from a kiddie coaster. She informed me a couple days later that the reason she didn't like Fire in the Hole was because she thought the lap bar was going to fly up when we went down the hills. So now that she knows the lap bars lock, there may be a chance I can get her back on it in a year or two. As for N3.... she didn't like how dark it was, and she definitely did NOT like the drops. I give major credit to her, though, for not crying. But man I wish I'd had a camera on me to capture the look on her face when we rolled into the station and into the light.... I don't know how long it'll be before I can convince her to go on that again.


Next, we traversed over to the Red Gold Heritage Hall because my dad insisted that we must see the Wild West Show. I had planned to let everyone else go and while they were at the show, I'd take pictures of the area that will be getting changed as part of the 2017/2018 projects.... but it was so hot and I was already so exhausted (I'm still recovering from the pneumonia I caught at the beginning of August and my lungs just still aren't as strong as they were before I got sick), so I ended up going to the show with everyone else and I'm glad I did.


The Wild West Show was very well done. I'd been uninterested in taking the time out to see it because it looked in the pics I'd seen like a tiny version of Dixie Stampede, which we were going to the next day. But while the concept is similar, there are actually aspects of the WWS that I preferred over DS. Particularly, I was very impressed and happy with the segment that featured Nakotah LaRance, the Hopi hoop dancer, and his father, Steve LaRance (who played the drum as well as had his own jewelry booth in the Frisco Barn). The Dixie Stampede segment concerning Native Americans didn't specify at all what nations were being represented, and it felt rather generic (also, the old man mask was really strange and creepy); the segment at the SDC show featured a specific dance from a specific nation, named the performers, and their dress was specific to the nation they were representing as well.


After the Wild West Show, we rode the train, which all the girls were excited about, particularly N3 as she is obsessed with trains at the moment. We ended up going right around lunchtime, so only Ralphie (or maybe it was Alfie - I didn't pay enough attention to the name, oops) was present. But the actor was top-notch and carried the whole show very well. Since I've seen the show many times, I was able to warn the girls when to cover their ears for the gunshot, which helped.


Since we were right there, we went straight to Flooded Mine after the train. I was again impressed by the work done on the ride. Everything looks nicely painted and there were some effects I noticed that I didn't remember from before (the glowing coals in the bucket at the end with the "hurry up, Fred" guy, for example). Sadly, after having taken some pics of the entrance, a few of Huck Finn's Hideaway, and tons of pics of the Saloon Show, I turned on the camera in the Flooded Mine to take some pics only to find that the battery was now dead because I'd forgotten to put it back on its charger the night before. So from then on, I was unable to get any pics with my sister's nice camera. Thankfully, she's got a newer phone, so her phone pics turned out pretty good.


After Flooded Mine, we ate at the Tater Patch. We had a "meat bee" hovering around us, and N3 was getting pretty upset about it. My dad started swiping at it, despite me telling them all to just ignore it and not make moves against it because that would just make it attack. Well, I was right. It ended up landing on N3's knee and stinging her (I just did a search on "meat bees" and it turns out it was a yellow jacket, which would explain why there was no stinger in the wound). For the first few seconds, we thought she was just freaking out because it touched her, but then she continued to cry and scream and we realized it had actually stung her.


The lady sitting at the picnic table behind us overheard and came over and directed us to use ice on the wound. I went over to the food stand and asked where First Aid was; she told me how to get there and then asked if my niece was allergic and if we needed her to call the EMTs down to us. My niece is not allergic and just needed some neosporin and a bandaid. I went back over to our table and told them where First Aid was and we decided we'd go up there and get a bandaid. Lo and behold, as we started to leave, the lady who had been sitting behind us overheard us again and offered us a bandaid. She had a whole ziploc of first aid stuff! She was so nice and putting the bandaid on the wound helped N3 calm down. By the end of the day, the wound was almost gone.


We decided to go to Grand Exposition, because I'd told my nieces about the "Dumbo ride" and since N3 is obsessed with elephants as well, we figured taking her on a ride we knew she'd like would help get her mind off her sting. Sure enough, not only did she love it, but I had to ride it twice in a row with her, LOL. After that, she went on the teacups with her mother, and then N8, my sis, and N3 went on the kiddie coaster. N8 loved it; N3 wasn't a huge fan.


Since N1 had only gotten to do a couple things due to her age, we took the girls over to the tiny kiddie rides and N1 rode the Happy Frogs with her mommy; N8 and N3 also rode it together. They also all did the Wings of Wonder, with my sister barely fitting into the seat behind N1 (it's kinda amusing to watch all the parents having to sit sideways so they can ride with their little ones).


The girls then went with my dad and BIL to the bathrooms while my sister and I got to ride our one "adult" ride of the day - Electro Spin. She'd never been on it. It was HILARIOUS the way she scared-giggled every time we got to the very top where it looks like we're gonna fly out into the open. She loved the ride!


After getting ice cream over by the Red Gold, we headed to Fireman's Landing. This was another thing that was new since the last time I'd been there. I'd seen plenty of pictures, but man it was great to see it in person! What a great replacement for Geyser Gulch!


Since it was hot as sin, we took the girls over to the splash yard and they had TONS of fun! N1 was particularly fond of standing right by one of the water holes and leaning down over it until it splashed her bang on in the face. LOL All three girls got soaking wet. After a while, I asked N8 if she'd like to try Firefall. Well, that turned out to be yet another bad ride choice. She didn't make a peep when the ride shot us up, but as soon as we got the airtime at the top, she started screaming bloodcurdling murder. I've never been with a person that has screamed that terrifyingly on a ride ever before. I'm honestly surprised the poor thing didn't pee her pants or something. What I found kinda amusing was that when we got on the ride, there was a gal in line who was close enough to hear me assuring N8 that it would be okay and that it's okay to scream and what-not. The gal obviously heard and saw when my niece started screaming on the ride and as we came back down into the station, the gal had the most amused look on her face. I couldn't help laughing while asking my niece several times, "Are you okay?"


BTW, Firefall is not particularly easy to get on for a short person. They had to push my OTSR down a bit because I have a large bust, but it was trying to climb into the seat that was the worst part; I'm 5'3" and I wish they'd had a step stool there....


We went back over to our group and my sister could see how terrified N8 was. She hugged her and exclaimed that she could feel her heart beating super fast, the poor girl.


By then, it was getting pretty late in the afternoon, so we decided to head up to do the petting zoo.... When we got up there, we found it closed off and there was another family there who said they'd tried to go earlier in the day and it'd been closed then, too. Dunno why it was closed.


So, N8 wanted to do Grandfather's Mansion again, so she and my dad went through it while I just sat on a bench in the main square because by that time I had a blister on my toe, the heat was really getting to me, and I'd done enough walking and hill climbing that my lungs were done for the day.


Sadly, my dad rushed us through the exit pretty fast so I didn't get a chance to look for or buy any souvenirs this time around.


The girls got souvenirs, though! Earlier in the day, when we were in the Grand Exposition area, the girls wanted to play one of the carnival games that was across the way from Red Gold Heritage Hall. It was the game where you pay $5 for 3 balls to throw into different colored holes. I've never been particularly fond of carnival games at theme parks, but what I like about SDC's is that no matter how you do in a game, you still win a prize. So you're basically buying a toy for $5 (which really is a steal at a theme park) and get to have fun at the same time.


The Citizen at the booth was nice and let the girls play 4 balls instead of 3. N8 didn't get any of the special holes, so she picked out a square dalmatian plushie. N3 managed to get her ball into the gold hole, so she got to pick a big prize and chose a giant blue plush raccoon with giant eyes. For N1, she tends to throw her balls down instead of out, so the Citizen had my sister bring her around and into the booth and had N1 stand on the edge of the game "board" so she could just drop her balls. She didn't get any special holes, so she picked out two small neon monkey plushes - green and pink.


And that's just something I have to say about all the Citizens at SDC. I am forever impressed with how friendly and giving they are. I didn't meet a single unhappy Citizen that day.


And now I'm itching to go back to the park. SDC is one of my special interests, and being away from there for three years was TERRIBLE. And now that I've gotten to go again, I'm itching to go back. Plus, there were a LOT of things we didn't see or do (Fire in the Hole was the only "coaster" I got to go on), so I can't wait to go back and have maybe a bit more slow, casual, and ride-filled day next time. Or maybe, if I'm lucky, get to have a two-day trip to the park!


Shout-out, btw, to my friend who got me the tickets. We wouldn't have had this great trip to Branson without him! (besides SDC, we did Dixie Stampede, Branson Landing & Dicks 5&10, and the Butterfly Palace; I liked the new DS show, though there are things that I think could be improved still - I'd love to see more of the lumberjack segment; now I wanna go see the new Lumberjack Adventure in Tennessee! And I'd never been to Butterfly Palace and I LOVED it! I also like how the admission price gets you a wristband for three days!)

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^ Great report! You've really highlighted how much there is to do at SDC with little kids. I'm glad you liked Fireman's Landing; it really is a big improvement to that area. SDC has been making huge strides over the last 10 years to get more rides for small children, and it's really paying off.


We haven't seen this year's Wild West show yet, but the way you've described it sounds like they haven't changed much since last year. And that's a good thing; it's a very good show. The Hopi hoop dancing is amazing.

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On Saturday my wife and daughters went to a wedding shower for my cousin, which meant guys' day out at Silver Dollar City! It was the third weekend for the National Harvest and Cowboy Festival, which is one of the best times to visit. Crowd levels are fairly low this time of year, temperatures are still good (it was in the 70s that day), and most importantly, the crafts are on full display.


We arrived a little after noon (no need for strategy this time of year) and ended up staying only about 2 hours. We went first to American Plunge, then to Fire in the Hole. We had intended to go over to Powder Keg next, but at that moment I found out my son was having a sensory sensitive day, because the loud noise of the launch caused him to burst into tears. Normally he loves Powder Keg, but today we were going to need to skip it. We found a quiet spot over by the Fire in the Hole exit for him to calm down. We sat for about half an hour to let him cry it out, and then he asked to go on Thunderation. We didn't try to go on any other loud or intense rides like the train or Outlaw Run. We just kind of wandered at looked at the scenery and crafts for a while and headed out.


SDC has cowboyed up!


I'm ready for fall! It's my favourite season!


SDC doesn't do spooky for Halloween, or even acknowledge that Halloween is a thing.


Stop! Banner time!


The Square is craftier than ever this time of year.


Hand woven baskets.


One thing I love about the crafts festival is that SDC encourages all the vendors to work at their booths. This woman is painting right here on the corner.


These guys are back! They're blacksmiths based out of Washington, Mo., which is just a bit west of Six Flags St. Louis.


Awwww. :)


Who wants to ride a log flume in October? We do!


And we're not the only ones, apparently.


Choices, choices.


We took the blue pill and headed left.


This is why you ride log flumes in October.


On the way to Fire in the Hole, we took the scenic route. For those wondering, yes, we are actually in the middle of a theme park right now.


This was the skillet line at the lumberjack camp. These people are making the correct choice.


Over at Thunderation, they had this giant cornucopia. Evan's eyes are a bit red from crying, but a roller coaster is going to make it okay in just a moment.


We didn't stay long enough for Echo Hollow to open, so this is the closest I could get to the construction. It's a giant area, and all of it is behind Echo Hollow and Thunderation.


Our lovely stick family. I'm starting to think these are just put here to mess with us, and the coaster won't actually be in this spot at all. All the excavation is well back from here.

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Fall is definitely SDCs best time to visit! When I go during the week on conference break, there is no one here, so you can get a lot of rides in and still enjoy the craftsman and stuff like that. I don't know about you guys, but the National Harvest and Cowboy Festival is my personal favorite event the park holds because it is just so cool to see the craftsmen!

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I was up there for a few hours on Thursday, didn't get as many pictures as I wanted since a thunderstorm decided to form right over the lake and sit over the park for 2 hours.




Some of the clearing behind Echo Hollow seen from the Culinary School porch.




Here is a bit of the clearing as seen from ThuNderaTion's queue. They didn't just clear out the trees and throw some retaining walls up and such, they also appear to be digging out much of that hillside now too. Likely for pathways and infrastructure. However I would'nt be surprised to see footers pop up here soon.




New Signage, the blue part lights up with a neon blue halo effect:



This one is still incomplete for some reason, it has been this way for awhile:


Edited by sdcfan88
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Good photos! There's been a tremendous amount of ground work done already. I think a lot of enthusiasts are thinking 2018 because nothing has gone vertical, and because the park hasn't announced anything yet. Outlaw Run went vertical in April 2012, nearly a year before it opened, but this is a different project. That hillside needed a lot of prep work before anything vertical can be done, and it's obvious when you ride Thunderation just how much work has gone into it. If this is a steel coaster--and all signs point to it--then we have plenty of time to get this done by March 2017 and be ready for opening day.


Let's keep in mind too that SDC's season always goes until the end of the calendar year (this year the last operating day is 12/30). In general, they tend to announce next year's additions around the beginning of November, once the Christmas festival begins. It's true that Outlaw Run was announced August 2012, but that's very much the exception, and probably due to the very visible construction. Most of the time, even when a coaster is coming, they've waited until November to announce.


So I'm not ruling out 2017 yet. I can't really be disappointed if it waits until 2018; SDC doesn't do things like the big chains do, where they need to have new additions every year. Instead, it's more in the league of Disneyland, where they get it done when they get it done, and you'll love it once they do. One more year's wait just means that's the time needed to get it right, and that's more important than doing it fast. Still, with the amount of work already done, it seems a 2017 timeline may very well be within possibility, and that would be quite all right with me.

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Very interesting! I'm excited to start seeing some substantial construction on this coaster. I'm hoping they might have some more footers poured when I visit! I haven't been following construction too closely lately; where were those pics taken approximately?

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Very interesting! I'm excited to start seeing some substantial construction on this coaster. I'm hoping they might have some more footers poured when I visit! I haven't been following construction too closely lately; where were those pics taken approximately?


Well the captions under the photos [ https://midwestinfoguide.blogspot.com/2016/10/project-2018-sdc.html ] say that this is behind the restrooms in Echo Hollow.

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With the success RMC has had with Outlaw Run at SDC, I wouldn't put the possibility of it being a T-Rex coaster...Okay more like I want it to be but we can all dream


Well, now that you mention it, rumor on the street/backstage has been pretty quiet lately. . . So who knows, maybe it's not going to be that 547ft tall, 1,500 mph, 700 inversion, launched B&M wing-flying-inverted-sitdown-standup-backwards-coaster after all.


That being said, I highly doubt it's going to be an RMC T-Rex coaster. I know we would all LOVE for it to be a T-Rex coaster, but my money is that it's going to a Mack Rides spinning coaster ie: Cobras Curse. That most closely matches the survey they sent out a while back.

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Honestly, I am highly skeptical on the spinning concept being for this immediate project. I am also not too sure how appealing this will be to their demographic as it has been rumored to be a launched Mack free spin WITH inversions. An extreme type spinner here could have major flop potential and a lot of reactions from random people I have chatted with and on various boards where I have read about this possibility have been pretty negative. And then there are issues with these often being low capacity which the park has done fairly well on avoiding with their coaster installations. Keep the spinning gimmick on the flat rides.


Now while the Coaster being built by Mack is all but confirmed by the park I would love to seem them do one of their mega/hyper coasters.

Edited by sdcfan88
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I disagree. A spinning coaster with inversions would be right in their wheelhouse. This is a park that has had two prototype coasters, including the first Premier water coaster and the first RMC with inversions, and also has an S&S launch coaster that is unique in the US. People who come to Branson are looking for experiences they don't have at home, and the Blue Fire type spinning coaster would certainly fit that bill.


Additionally, in the decade since Giant Barn Swing was built, only one year, 2013, offered a thrill ride. Every other year was spent beefing up their offerings for families, kids, and non-riders. Yes, it's true that SDC is not a thrill park, but they do understand that there will be some members of each family who want to go on thrill rides. If you look at their history of coasters especially, it becomes clear that each of their coasters is on the high end of intensity for that coaster type. Even Thunderation is one of the most intense mine trains there is. So for SDC to build a coaster type that has never been done before in the US, and that offers a higher than average thrill level, would be completely normal for them, and even expected.

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^^It really is interesting how they approach coasters. I've always said that whoever pulls the strings on these things at SDC must be a coaster enthusiast because each one of them is a winner worthy of marathoning.


I'm still really uncertain about the concept that seems to have been presented, but they've got such a track record it's hard to be negative about anything yet. They obviously know what they're doing. It's just hard to fundamentally picture doing anything too intense on the type of spinning coasters I've been on. Tony Hawk's is crazy enough for me with the spinning. That's why I've been wondering if the spinning will be more controlled than on other coasters.


Then again, the concept could be a complete false flag. That would be a first for them, but it's totally possible.

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Yeah, the free spinning a la Pandemonium and Spinning Dragons has only been done on smaller coasters. I'm not a huge fan of that coaster type, but I also don't like tilt-a-whirls, scramblers, or tea cups, so that sort just isn't for me.


There's a lot of uncertainty about this new coaster. We're not even sure it will be the Blue Fire type. All we have officially is a survey on themes that could be used, and the descriptions provided all mentioned spinning. The Blue Fire thing is a guess based on the immense size of the land being cleared, much bigger than usual for a spinning coaster, and HFE's MO of being either the first or at least the first in the US.


Cobra's Curse is an interesting coaster. It has 3 sections: one where the trains are turned normally, then they turn backwards and lock there for the second section, and finally are allowed to free spin once the coaster is on the last and slowest section. If we are getting a large Mack spinner, I think that's the design this will take.

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Cobra's Curse is an interesting coaster.

Totally agree with it being an interesting coaster. However, my interest didn't extend to wanting to ride it more than once, which is always the case for spinning coasters with me.

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Silver Dollar City has sent us a Press Release about their upcoming Christmas event.





(Branson, Mo. 10/2016) Silver Dollar City presents one of the nation's most acclaimed holiday and lighting festivals, An Old Time Christmas, featuring a spectacular Light Parade, a 5-story Christmas tree with a light and sound show, two Broadway-style musical productions, holiday foods and five million lights. The festival runs November 5 - December 30 at the Branson, Missouri theme park.


One of the festival's most popular features is Rudolph's Holly Jolly™ Christmas Light Parade, led by the most famous reindeer of all. As Grand Marshal, Rudolph leads the evening parade of nine musical, lighted floats, illuminated with 200,000 ultra-bright LED lights. The floats are accompanied by 33 colorful costumed characters, including Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster, 14-foot moose characters, 12-foot tall elves and 10-foot candy canes, plus penguins, elves and a troupe of marching wooden soldiers.


The parade follows the lighting of the 5-Story Special Effects Christmas Tree on the Square, a towering icon with over 350,000 colorful LED lights that is the centerpiece of the Christmas on Main Street light and sound shows beginning at dusk each evening. The tree blazes to the movements of Christmas songs -- up to 100 light changes per second -- while lights around the Square flash along, accompanied by surround-sound.


The festival also features two popular musical productions, It's a Wonderful Life and A Dickens' Christmas Carol. It's a Wonderful Life presents a musical interpretation of the classic film and features unique special effects and a talented cast of 14 singers/actors. A Dickens' Christmas Carol, also an original musical adaptation of a famous classic story, includes elaborate sets, flying spirits, pyrotechnic special effects and a cast of 15, accompanied by a live band.


New this year, the show Tinker Junior's Toy Shop stars a 12-foot tall talking Christmas tree that talks, sings and interacts with kids, accompanied by huge toy characters.


Since its debut more than two decades ago, Silver Dollar City's An Old Time Christmas has become one of the country's most recognized events for spectacular lighting and entertainment, and has been profiled as one of the top holiday celebrations by USA Today, CNN Travel, The Travel Channel and Good Morning America.


Fine craftsmanship is also showcased, as the park's 100 demonstrating craftsmen create one-of-a-kind handmade holiday items. The tastes of the season are in abundance throughout the park, including a prime rib buffet and traditional favorites.


During An Old Time Christmas, Silver Dollar City is open Thursdays through Sundays November 5 - 27, plus Wednesday, November 23; open Wednesdays - Sundays in December, closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and open daily December 26-30. Hours are 1:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. most days, with extended hours on Saturdays and Thanksgiving weekend - check the website for exact schedules.


Edited by chadster
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