"Be The Light"
“BE THE LIGHT”
2021 Community Christmas Tree to Feature
Nearly 10,000 Cut Crystals and More Than 3,000 Lights
The Branson Christmas Coalition has unveiled plans for this season’s second annual community Christmas tree entitled “Be The Light.” The tree’s theme is planned to be a celebration of faith and an inspiration to all. It will be a combination of old and new, warm and cool, silver and golden tones, all creating and reflecting light -- the age-old symbol of goodness, wisdom, hope, and the grace of God. The 2021 Community Christmas Tree will be displayed on West 76 Country Boulevard between the Branson Ferris Wheel and the Holidays on Ice Skating Rink again this year.
“This Christmas tree’s new lighting and décor will sparkle like never before, reflecting our community’s wish for peace, kindness, and joy this holiday season,” according to Ann McDowell, Executive Director of the Branson Christmas Coalition. “It will be a shining example of what makes the Branson area special and unique in the world -- our genuine kindness, our shared faith, and the real joy our destination provides for millions.”
Nearly10,000 genuine, cut crystals are being provided to adorn the tree by the Branson Centennial Museum and Branson Boardwalk, home of Aquarium at the Boardwalk. These Austrian crystals originally formed the magnificent chandelier that hung in The Grand Palace theater lobby from 1992 until 2008. When the theater was transformed by Kuvera Partners into the developing entertainment complex with the Aquarium at the northwest corner, they donated the chandelier to the museum.
“In February2020, we approached Kuvera Partners for the donation,” explains Jim Babcock, co-curator of the Branson Centennial Museum with his wife Jean. “The aquarium owners and the White River Valley Historic society, of which we are an affiliate, both want to preserve and present this area’s incredible history, including the ‘music theater boom’ of the 1990’s and this iconic chandelier from the region’s largest and most elaborate performance venue of the time.”
The original fixture was created by the Gross Chandelier Company in St. Louis, Missouri (now G Lighting). The family-owned company was able to provide extensive documentation of the design by E. Linton Gross III (now deceased) and other details to the Branson Centennial Museum for their upcoming exhibit. The original fixture was 16’ tall, 10’4” across and featured 141 lights. It was delivered to the theater in January 1992 for a price of $40,000.
Since acquisition of the chandelier, extensive volunteer hours have been dedicated to reclaiming its elements, cleaning, sorting, and organizing thousands of crystals, candlesticks and polished brass and nickel adornments. Strands of crystals will be featured on the 2021 Community Christmas Tree. Other smaller and unique items from the fixture will be on display and for sale at the Branson Centennial Museum.
“This tree is another huge, collaborative effort by our community which is ongoing, ”explains Ann McDowell. “Volunteers are still needed at the museum now, and with tree assembly in October. Our plans are to kick off the Ozark Mountain Christmas season with a community lighting event on Thursday, November 4, at 5:30 PM.”
“We’re thrilled to host the area’s community Christmas tree again this year,” explains Julie Wilson, Director of Marketing and Sales for The Track Family Fun Parks and the Branson Ferris Wheel. “Our team is key to making this tree a reality and we look forward to welcoming all the visitors and residents who come to enjoy its message and its beauty this holiday season.”
“What do we mean by ‘Be The Light’ you may ask,” explains Peter Herschend, Silver Dollar City Co-founder and Chairman of the Branson Christmas Coalition Board of Directors. “Jesus said ‘You are the light of the world,’ and encouraged us to let our light shine before others to glorify our Father in heaven. And that is exactly what we are striving to do in Branson Missouri for Christmas.”
Area businesses and organizations can participate in building the holiday season by joining the Branson Christmas Coalition and by decorating, especially with Christmas trees, their properties throughout the region. The Branson Christmas Coalition is a non-profit organization whose members are dedicated to growing visitation and enhancing the Ozark Mountain Christmas season for everyone in this region.
Branson Christmas Coalition is a Missouri non-profit formed in 2015 by a group of local business leaders who wanted to improve and enhance the holiday season. Making Branson, America’s Christmas Tree City! encourages visitation and the presentation of an expansive and amazing collection of the most unique and beautiful Christmas tree displays in the country. The Christmas tree effort is also an ideal way to showcase the natural beauty, beloved Christian traditions, and immense creativity that is both the foundation and the future of a thriving Ozark Mountain Christmas season.
In 2020,the Coalition helped develop, document, or promote 60 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 display that is a one-of-a-kind, only-in-Branson type presentation.
Since 2018,research shows more than 45% of visitors to 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 to the region without this unique appeal. $20 million dollars in direct economic impact from “America’s Christmas Tree City” has been documented each year this campaign has been measured. More details about this research and the work of the Branson Christmas Coalition are available at www.BransonChristmas.org.