Many people are attracted to Branson because this town celebrates the tried and true of Ozark culture. Silver Dollar City is not just another amusement park, it’s a theme park. From the depths of Marvel Cave to the stage of the Opera House, Silver Dollar City stands as a living memorial to the traditions of this region. Just down the street, below the Inspiration Tower, the cast and crew of The Shepherd of the Hills bring to life Harold Bell Wright’s masterpiece of mountain folklore. In this way they revive, on a nightly basis, the way of life that once dominated these hills.
There is a real beauty to the way Branson’s entertainment industry continues to celebrate this area’s heritage. It reflects the way members of this community continue to value those who came before, paving the way for us. However, I believe that these expressions of gratitude for our heritage actually stems from a deeper, more fundamental conviction held by those in this community.
If there is something that sets the Branson culture apart, it is the collective conviction that each of us, from those in food service to small-business owners and musical performers, are playing an integral role in a common endeavor. Because the economy of Branson has been dominated for many decades by tourism, there is a literal sense in which each member of this community depends on the excellence of every other member.
In this town we understand that our livelihood depends on the good name we have inherited, and we recognize that maintaining that good name is a matter of individuals doing their job the best they can. With this in mind, I think we can see how celebrating our forerunners is just one way we have found to express our appreciation for the people we depend on—those who have made, and continue to make, Branson what it is. When we recognize that we are all indebted to one another in some real sense, the best thing we can do is find creative ways to say “thank you.”
That’s what the local spotlights on this blog are all about. We want to show our appreciation for those in our community who are contributing to its ongoing success. Of course we won’t be exhaustive, but we hope that by showcasing a few outstanding cases we will encourage our readers to begin to notice and thank the many individuals and groups who play a vital role in the life of this wonderful town.
Branson could never have become what it is today if not for those who carved out a life for themselves in these hills. With this blog, we hope to draw attention to those who we will be celebrating generations in the future.