The economy of Christmas- Case Study – Branson, Missouri
20 + years ago Branson, Missouri was doing well as a summer vacation destination with a short Spring and Fall season on either end of the more popular summer season. Business owners knew to sustain any kind of longevity and to grow as a vacation hotspot they would have to find a way to lengthen the tourism season.
A group of businesses owners, spearheaded by Jack and Pete Herschend (owners of theme park Silver Dollar City) chartered a plane to explore what Hershey, Pennsylvania had created as a Christmas tourist season. That trip changed the face of Branson tourism from that moment forward.
Branson’s Ozark Mountain Christmas Season now runs from November 1st through December 31st. This 60 day period that only two decades earlier were considered the “off season” is now among the busiest two months in the area. The centerpiece of Branson’s Christmas Season is the Branson Area Festival of Lights Drive Through, now produced by North Pole Productions.
The mile long drive through originally started as a volunteer driven project, through the Branson / Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce, as a way to encourage visitation during the Christmas Season. As the drive through grew in popularity so did the work. So in the early 2000’s the Branson Chamber chose to contract with a commercial holiday lighting producer, North Pole Productions.
“The Festival of Lights Drive Through has been an important part of the Christmas Season for Branson,” said former Branson Chamber staff member in charge of the drive through, Ladona Weathers. “Over 25,000 vehicles would drive through the lights in one season, making this event not only important for Branson as a destination, but important for the Chamber’s overall budget. “In Branson, MO the reason for the Christmas Season is always remembered and celebrated. However, when it comes to Branson’s economy, Christmas is a significant portion of business.
“Branson uses Christmas lights to drive visitation,” said Weathers. “So much of our business is repeat so as a destination we have to continually give people a reason to visit and Christmas lights easily accomplish this for us as a town. Even if someone came last year for the lights, they know they will different this year as Tammy Peters (owner of North Pole Productions) always helps us make the drive through bigger, brighter and better than ever…each year.”
The commercial lighting displays that North Pole Productions use include LED lights and regular incandescent bulbs. There are over 100 commercial light displays in the /bafol”>Branson Area Festival of Lights Drive Through with everything from the 12 Days of Christmas to synchronized scenes to music. To learn more about how commercial Christmas light displays or other events and help your fundraise or add money to your organization’s budget. Call North Pole Productions today at 800.377.4625 or visit our website.