New community Christmas tree lit in Branson during special ceremony Wednesday

A new community Christmas tree now stands nearly 40 feet tall beside the Branson Ferris Wheel along 76 Country Boulevard.
Published: Nov. 4, 2020 at 6:33 PM CST
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BRANSON, Mo. (EDITED NEWS RELEASE) - A new community Christmas tree now stands nearly 40 feet tall beside the Branson Ferris Wheel along 76 Country Boulevard.

The “United We Stand” Christmas tree display has been added to this year’s holiday celebration in the Branson area.

The base of the tree says “PEACE, HOPE, JOY, LOVE” and there is a three-dimensional, LED-lighted, six-foot starburst on top. The display features décor representing a united country and community for Christmas. At the request of the Branson Christmas Coalition, Missouri Governor Mike Parson requested an item for the tree from every other governor in the country. The states were encouraged to send non-traditional décor to decorate the tree and represent their state.

The tree was lit during a special ceremony on Wednesday, November 4. The ceremony featured a blessing, a live performance by New South, and a jingle bell countdown to the debut illumination of the display.

Local organizations and artists contributed décor, as well. The Branson Christmas Coalition provided 50, 16-inch, aluminum ornament blanks to local businesses, schools, and organizations to decorate. Branson High School students painted several of the blanks and many more were decorated by live shows, family attractions, lodging properties and other businesses who support the Coalition’s efforts to grow and enhance the Ozark Mountain Christmas season in the Branson area.

The red ribbon garland that crisscrosses the giant tree has been signed by hundreds of individuals in the community. Signing opportunities at Branson City Hall, the Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and CVB, Hilton Hotels and Grand Country Music Hall gave area residents, employees, and visitors the chance to show their unity for the United States, the Branson community, and Christmas.

“I don’t think this tree could have come together anywhere besides Branson, Missouri,” Ann McDowell, Executive Director of the Branson Christmas Coalition, said. "What started as an idea, a “what if we…” at a Coalition meeting back in June, has become reality only because so many people across the country, around our state, and in our own community gave so generously of their time, talent and resources. This is a perfect example of how we can make incredible things happen when we work together."

For the last few years, members of the Christmas Coalition Board heard from various members of the community who wanted a single, spectacular, monumental tree. That shared “community tree” should represent what this area loves to celebrate at Christmastime, and year-round. Several ideas were discussed, and a survey was conducted to gather input and ideas on possible themes and décor. In the end, the Coalition dedicated a large portion of its cash reserves to develop and implement this new tree in a year when resources are slim, but the need for unity is greater than ever.

The “United We Stand” Christmas tree display honors the area’s Christian roots and celebrates its patriotic pride. Just as this destination brings friends and families from across the country closer together for fun and fellowship, the tree has brought together each of the United States that are represented on one beautiful tree. Local artists and organizations filled the branches with the kind of unique creativity found only in the Ozarks, and hundreds more signed their name to the garland that surrounds this symbol of unity, peace, hope, joy and love for the country and the world to see.

“National media outlets have shown interest in this tree and its debut the day after a very contentious presidential election,” according to Lynn Berry, Public Relations Director for the Branson/Lakes Area CVB. “It’s expected to be a popular photo opportunity during the Ozark Mountain Christmas season, for media as well as the many families who come to our area as part of their holiday tradition and celebration. Of course, the iconic Branson Ferris Wheel provides the perfect landmark and a beautiful background for the tree.”

The Branson Christmas Coalition is a non-profit community organization, dedicated to growing visitation and enhancing the Ozark Mountain Christmas season in the 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 more than 50 landmark Christmas trees in the area. Landmark trees are defined as 20 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 the Branson 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.

More details about this research and the work of the Branson Christmas Coalition are available at www.BransonChristmas.org.

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