'Tis The Season - Silver Dollar City sets holidays in motion
I've always thought of Christmas as a charitable time ... a time of peace on earth and good will toward men," Scrooge's nephew Fred says to him in the Charles Dickens classic "A Christmas Carol." "And so I say, God bless it!"
"Although the character of Scrooge is unmoved at the moment of the line's delivery, [it's] my favorite summation of how Christmas should be perceived," says Dave Wallace, who portrays the curmudgeonly character in the Silver Dollar City production of "A Dickens' Christmas Carol."
An Old Time Christmas
WHEN — Through Dec. 30
WHERE — Silver Dollar City in Branson, Mo.
COST — $54-$65
INFO — silverdollarcity.com
"This show is in its 16th season and has become a tradition for many of our guests as well as the performers," adds Rachel Wallace, Dave's wife and the actress who portrays the flying Ghost of Christmas Present. "It is a timeless story with a wonderful message."
The Wallaces have been at the 1880s Branson theme park for over a decade. Rachel grew up in Joplin, Dave in Webb City, and they met at the community theater in southwest Missouri the summer before Rachel started college.
"We then attended college together, performing in many shows and choirs while there. Dave graduated with a degree in vocal performance [and] I graduated with a degree in theater performance," Rachel continues.
"After many years of performing together, our on-stage existence is exclusively joy," Dave adds. "It's a time, even, for whatever challenges we may be facing as a couple to be relieved in the focus and fun of our work."
"I hope audiences come away with a true feeling of Christmas and what it really means," Rachel says. "We try to make the season brighter for everyone who comes to the show."
With 6.5 million lights, there's no question that the holiday sparkles at Silver Dollar City. This year, the park has added 30 miles of new lights leading up to the $26 million 2018 addition, Time Traveler, the "world's fastest, steepest and tallest complete-circuit spinning roller coaster." If you're counting, that makes a total of 680 miles worth of illumination.
Of course, that's just the icing on the proverbial cake. An Old Time Christmas also includes:
Christmas In Midtown -- A 70,000-square-foot area filled with nine-story-tall light displays, including 30 angels, animated reindeer pulling a sleigh, three light tunnels, two 40-foot moving trains, dozens of stars and snowflakes and a 50-foot tree.
Rudolph's Holly Jolly Christmas Light Parade -- Featuring musical floats with 200,000 lights accompanied by 33 costumed characters.
And "It's a Wonderful Life" -- The final year of the Broadway style adaptation of the Frank Capra classic.
Best Is Yet To Come
Come 2019, Christmas will still be the biggest celebration in the park, but an announcement made last month raised the bar for every other season.
"The Year of Shows & Festivals" will begin an era of "even bolder entertainment," says Brad Thomas, president of Silver Dollar City Attractions, with millions of dollars invested in new productions, larger-than-life shows and festival adventures.
Spring begins with The Festival of Wonder, "a most amazing entertainment experience" with shows like Phoenix Fire, a black-light laser and fire production, and CirqUnique. Also, a series of evening concerts will fill the Echo Hollow Amphitheater during "Bluegrass Nights."
In summer, imagination comes to life on stage with "Reuben's Swashbuckling Adventure," a $1 million Broadway-style musical, and "Kid Magic," starring Kadan Bart Rockett and Brooklyn from "America's Got Talent."
Come autumn, Silver Dollar City will be transformed into a glowing orange wonderland for Pumpkin Nights, an evening event with thousands of pumpkins, giant scarecrows, cats, owls and other characters shining in the dark. A new Pumpkin Pathway leads to Pumpkin Plaza for a dance party and fall activities until 9 p.m.
And in the daytime, fall means a globally acclaimed acrobatic French-Canadian lumberjack show, along with the traditional crafts that have defined autumn at the park.
Then it's Christmas again.
"We are, and always will be, respectful to our roots of presenting great crafts, unique music and family-friendly shows," says Thomas. "[But] guests are seeking new adventures and always looking for something they haven't seen before. We promise we will deliver new experiences while embracing favorites as we support our mission statement of 'creating memories worth repeating.'"