The third RVFEST ‘fun’ rally is history! The owners of seven RVs rendezvoused 5 November 2011 at America’s Best Campground (ABC), Branson, Missouri for an action-packed, seven-day rally. Attendees represented California (Beverly Hiltachk and Paulette “Casper” Nordahl), Florida (John and Audrey Murphy, and Bill and Martha Potteiger), Michigan (Joseph and Betty Medsker), Missouri (Larry and Judie Stocker), Virginia (Les and Jean Potteiger) and Saskatchewan, Canada (Terry and Teri Meyers) making this an International rally. Jean and I thank all for attending and supporting RVFEST Christmas in Branson.
Our scrumptious Welcome Dinner Saturday evening was served in the balcony of the Hughes Brothers Theater after which we were entertained by the unbelievable SIX, an a cappella group that sounds as if it is accompanied by a full orchestra, but there are no instruments - all musical sounds come from the SIX brothers! There are four more brothers that work behind the scene. They concluded the show with Silent Night accompanied by their Father playing his own arrangement on the piano. Their performance was outstanding to say the least. Their six Chevrolet Camaros are lined up by the street in front of the theater! Our rally was ‘off and running’!
Sunday on the agenda was the beautiful Casandre’ The Voice of an Angel in the afternoon followed by Hollywood’s Christmas Spectacular that evening. The vivacious Casandre’ is backed by a 10-piece live orchestra. She beautifully sang a variety of songs and entertained us with comedy as Aunt Erma! The Spectacular singers/dancers entertained us with Christmas songs from the movies. We had great theater seats for all shows except the Spectacular and this influenced our evaluation of this show.
Christmas with the Lennon Sisters in the Andy Williams Theater Monday afternoon was a hit that featured sisters Janet, Kathy and Mimi, and at times, three of Janet’s granddaughters singing many Christmas songs. It appears that the musical Lennon family will continue to entertain America for many more years! We attended the spectacular Twelve Irish Tenors show that evening. We thoroughly enjoyed them. After the show, we met all twelve young ‘hunks’ in the lobby.
Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede Dinner and Show Tuesday afternoon was a Christmas spectacular featuring a North-South competition with trick horseback riders and a comedian as well as a spectacular Nativity scene with live animals and angels flying above with a video narration by Dolly Parton.
Wednesday morning was spent with Buck Trent who greeted us in the lobby before the show. The former Hee Haw star provides a wonderful show with talented entertainers. It is a pleasure to listen to vocalist Kenny Parrot as well as Buck and his entire band. That evening we were entertained by the one and only Oak Ridge Boys singing many of their hits as well as many Christmas songs. It was a ‘Country Day’ that pleased all!
Our Saskatchewan guests departed Thursday morning to return to Canada, by car, leaving their RV in Branson for a winter trip to Arizona. Teri had been waiting two years for a rotor cuff operation and when a last minute cancellation came up, she jumped at the opportunity to have her shoulder repaired.
Late Thursday afternoon we experienced and participated in Yakov’s Dinner Adventure. We had an excellent dinner served at our theater seats and no one soiled their clothing! We were entertained by a clown while we ate and later pelted with Hershey Kisses wrapped in paper napkins. The clown first used a small ‘rifle’ and when that didn’t shoot far enough, he switched to a blunderbuss. Again, the range was short so he produced a large cannon so that we could all capture a Hershey Kiss! At one point during the show, he threw beach balls out into the audience, starting with small ones and ever increasing in size to about six feet in diameter! These traveled back and forth above and through the audience – we were kids again!
Yakov appeared on screen to tell a love story between a Moscow Circus clown and a female dancer who were separated when only the clown was allowed to come to America with the Moscow Circus many years ago (in the 90’s). He defected and was reunited years later with the dancer who became his wife. There were pauses in the narration during which we were entertained by the clown and a female dancer as well as a young male unicyclist. Ending his story on screen, Yakov revealed that the story is true! The clown and dancer on stage are the individuals in his story and the champion unicyclist is their son! This was an inspiring story, written and told by a great entertainer, and experienced by these talented folks.
Friday, 11 November was Veteran’s Day. There were many veterans in town to be honored by Branson entertainers. We did not have anything scheduled so that all could do their thing! Cousins Bill and Martha Potteiger drove us about 30 miles north to Lambert’s Cafe, home of the throwed rolls, for a huge lunch as Martha describes it!
Saturday morning we had a breakfast buffet at the Branson Golden Corral, the largest in America, followed by a farewell show by Allen Edwards in their dining room theater. Allen is a former Houston, TX police force detective who sang on the side and was encouraged by fellow officers and others to sing full time! He has a great voice and produces a wonderful show saluting the veterans as did all of the entertainers this week. We should always keep our military, police, fire and medical personnel in our thoughts and prayers. They give us our freedom and protection, and keep us healthy.
Eight of us went to see Tom Mullica’s Tribute to Red Skelton. He is truly amazing. Ten of us also went to see the one and only Shoji Tabuchi. His Christmas show was spectacular, also with angels flying above us. One of the ten reported that had we gone to see this show first, the others would have been disappointing! Nine of us went to see the Miracle of Christmas that also used flying angels. This was a magnificent and spectacular production produced on a 270 degree, wrap-around stage, also with live animals. Some of you may have seen this production in Lancaster, Pennsylvania where there is a sister theater. Four went to the Presley’s Country Jubilee and they reported that they enjoyed it. Six of us took in the Sander’s Family Christmas, a uniquely different but amusing show in a small theater. Jean and I attended two other spectacular shows: The Gatlin Brothers and Debbie Boone Together and The Hughes Brothers Christmas show – sixteen shows in eight days for us!
America’s Best Campground (ABC) is ‘isolated’ from the hustle and bustle of Branson. It is quiet! We carpooled to all shows, about 85 miles round trip for the week – the greatest distance to any one theater being a little over five miles and it didn’t take very long to reach our destinations! Carpooling as opposed to busing worked out fine because we were on our own before, between and after shows to take our time departing, to visit a restaurant, a museum or just sightsee. Ten individuals returned evaluation forms and all gave transportation a rating of 10!
ABC was also rated 10 by nine of the individuals and 9 by the tenth. ABC hosts and staff are the greatest. Jean and I had to drive the last 500 or so miles to Branson separately because the base plate on our Saturn was too loose to trust. I inquired at the office about the location of the local Chevrolet dealer to get it tightened before Jean and I went to the ABC office loft to visit owner Jim Alkire. We have been good friends with Jim and his wife Sue for many years. When I told him my dilemma, he asked me what site I was on and said that he would come by to look at it. When he did, he found the loose bolts that are practically inaccessible and then proceeded to tighten the bolts with difficulty requiring his mechanical ingenuity to access and tighten them, all this while flat on his back on the ground. Is Jim a good friend or what? We’re sorry to say that we could not tie up with Sue who was visiting her mother in Colorado most of the week. We thank Jim and Sue and the ABC staff for hosting our rally.
The average rating for the rally was ten and for the shows, 8.73 to ten. I believe it is fair to say that all enjoyed RVFEST Christmas in Branson and all were glad that they attended!
Best wishes for a MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR.
Love to all, Les and Jean Potteiger