A town in Missouri where careers go to die, lucratively. A combination of Las Vegas (minus the gambling and scantily clad dancers, for "family values" is Branson's middle name) and Nashville, many old-time entertainers have opened theatres there and play much golf when they're not on stage entertainin' the folk. Must-see names like Glen Campbell, Perry Como, Andy Williams, the late Boxcar Willie, Pat Boone, Roy Clark, Mel Tillis, etc. Ask yer Grandma; she'll recognize 'em.

Few people were more surprised than Branson natives themselves when their town suddenly became one of the major tourist destinations of North America. If they had expected it, they would have planned the city layout better. To quote Jim Stafford, to the tune of Seventy-Six Trombones:

Seventy-six Highway is a big parade
A hundred and one cars, and the one in the middle is mine
You know I'd really like to go and see the country music show
But I can't because I'd never get back in line.

There are only about three major roads through town, forming a rough triangle shape, and there's very little interconnectivity. As a result, traffic jams are common, especially during rush hour. If you plan to spend much time in Branson, come when the weather is cool, and bring a bicycle--and if you plan to attend the shows, plan to arrive at least half an hour to forty-five minutes early, and you'll be right on time.

Make no mistake, Branson is an excellent place to visit; it boasts multitudinous country music shows, an IMAX theater, Silver Dollar City and White Water amusement parks, the Factory Merchants' Mall, and many others. But be advised, it also suffers from the many problems common to tourist traps.

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