NEW 2020 Community Tree
A new community Christmas tree display will be added to this year’s holiday celebration in the Branson area. At the request of Peter Herschend and the Branson Christmas Coalition, Missouri Governor Mike Parson has requested an item for this tree, from every other governor in the country. The states were encouraged to send non-traditional décor for the tree, rather than atypical ornament, to represent their state in a unique way. Area businesses, schools, churches, and organizations will be able to contribute to the tree as well. The base of the tree will say “PEACE HOPE JOY LOVE” in red and white lit letters and red ribbon garland willbe signed by both residents and visitors to the area. In a time of social distancing, economic struggles, and tremendous challenges to the travel and tourism industry, this tree is intended to unite our community and our country for Christmas. The display has been named, “United We Stand.”
“Our Christmas Coalition Board wanted to establish a single, spectacular tree that Branson could share and take pride in this year,” said Peter Herschend, Co-owner of Herschend Family Entertainment and Founder and President of the Branson Christmas Coalition. “As we discussed possible themes for such a tree, we decided to celebrate our love of this important season, our country and Branson’s ability to bring families and friends closer together, in one amazing display. Our hope is that this tree will attract lots of positive attention and thus promote visitation to our area for the Christmas season as well.”
Letters to other state governors went out from Governor Parson’s office in August and follow-up contacts are being made this month. The tree’s base is under construction and a 6’,three-dimensional, LED starburst tree topper has been ordered. The new “United We Stand” tree display will stand 39’ tall and be positioned near the Branson Ferris Wheel at 3335 W. 76 Country Boulevard.
“This tree is a huge, collaborative effort,” explains Ann McDowell, Executive Director of the Branson Christmas Coalition. “We are receiving great cooperation from Coalition members, vendors, and the Branson/Lakes Area CVB. In the coming weeks we’ll be announcing exactly how area businesses and organizations can be represented on this tree as well. Our plans are to kick off the season with the lighting of the new tree display on Wednesday, November 4.”
The base of the tree will have red and white, LED-lighted letters that say, “PEACE HOPE JOY LOVE” to promote the universal message of the Christmas season. Already some national media outlets have shown interest in the tree, and it is expected to be a “must see” addition and popular photo opportunity during the Ozark Mountain Christmas season this year.
“We’re thrilled to host this special new tree for the community,” explains Julie Wilson, Director of Marketing and Sales for The Tracks Family Fun Parks and the Branson Ferris Wheel. “Our team is adding their skills, talents and hard work to make this tree a reality. The Wheel will provide a brilliant backdrop for the new tree display and we are excited to welcome every visitor and resident who comes to enjoy its message and its beauty this holiday season.”
Area businesses and organizations can participate inbuilding the holiday season by joining the nonprofit Branson Christmas Coalition and by decorating, especially with Christmas trees, on their properties and at their locations throughout the region. The Branson Christmas Coalition is a non-profit community organization, dedicated to growing visitation and enhancing the Ozark Mountain Christmas season in our region. Its volunteer Board of Directors continue to work year-round to engage our community, secure resources, and inspire the creativity necessary to make “Branson: America’s Christmas Tree City.”
In 2019, the Coalition helped develop, document, or promote 56 landmark Christmas trees in the area. Landmark trees are defined as20 or more feet tall, or a display of 10 or more trees in one location, or a tree that is a one-of-a-kind, only-in-Branson type presentation.
For the past two Christmas seasons(2018 and 2019), area research has shown that more than 45% of consumers who visited the area in November and December said “America’s Christmas Tree City” was very important in their decision to visit. In addition, 15% of visitors would not have come here without this appeal. Holiday visitation increased by 95,000,or 5.5% from 2018 to 2019 when visits to Branson, in November and December combined, were estimated at 1,824,969.