NEW Tree Lighting November 4
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 2, 2020
New 39’ Christmas Tree Display at the Branson Ferris Wheel
BRANSON, MO | Monday, November 2, 2020 – “United We Stand,” a new community Christmas tree display, has been added to this year’s holiday celebration in the Branson area. The display stands 39’ tall with a base that proclaims “PEACE, HOPE, JOY, LOVE,” a three-dimensional, LED-lighted, 6-foot starburst on top and features décor representing a united country and community for Christmas. The lighting ceremony begins Wednesday, November 4 evening at 5:30 pm and will feature a blessing, a live performance by New South and a jingle bell countdown to the debut illumination of the display. Everyone is invited to attend the outdoor event with room for a socially distanced celebration kicking-off the Christmas season in Branson.
Every state in the union is represented on "United We Stand."
At the request of the Branson Christmas Coalition, Missouri Governor Mike Parson requested an item for this 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. A large Superman and an Abraham Lincoln ornament came in from Illinois who proudly claim these two heroes as their own. Floral flip flops and kukui nut lei arrived from Hawaii, and a log cabin from Montana. Virginia sent a giant heart suspended in a circle proclaiming, “Virginia is for Lovers” and New Jersey shipped a large, electric sign-like display highlighting the beaches, wine, gaming, flora, music, and coastline found in their state. Several, including Missouri, provided messages and images on various materials cut into the shape of their beloved state.
Local organizations and artists contributed décor to “United We Stand.”
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 beautifully 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 our region.
Residents, visitors, and guests signed the red ribbon garland that circles “United We Stand.”
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 our country, our community, and Christmas.
“I don’t think this tree could have come together anywhere besides Branson, Missouri,” reflects Ann McDowell, Executive Director of the Branson Christmas Coalition. “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 our area 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 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, this 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 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 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 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. More details about this research and the work of the Branson Christmas Coalition are available at www.BransonChristmas.org .
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 the both the foundation and the future of an Ozark Mountain Christmas.