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by Kate Mulcrone | July 01, 2012
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Branson
This is the year of the official Branson centennial (the city was named for Reuben Branson, who served as a postmaster and store proprietor in what was a dusty frontier town in the 1880s). As part of the celebration, April saw the grand opening of the Branson Centennial Museum; for a complete list of related activities, go to explorebranson.com/calendar.

The 472-room Radisson Hotel Branson wrapped up an extensive multimillion-dollar renovation earlier this year, having overhauled its suites, lobby and fitness center while nearly doubling its meetings capacity. The hotel now offers a total of more than 15,000 square feet of flexible event space, as well as the newly renovated Time Out Sports Lounge and the upscale Wildwood Bistro. In addition, all guest rooms now offer complementary high-speed wireless Internet access.

The Silver Dollar City was hit by a strong tornado this past February. Most Branson Landing-area hotels and restaurants quickly cleaned up and reopened after the storm, but there are exceptions: The 300-room Hilton Branson Convention Center Hotel remains closed for repairs and is not expected to come back online until October. However, the 242-room Hilton Promenade at Branson Landing, directly across the street, once again is fully operational and has been hosting displaced groups. The Branson Convention Center, which also suffered damage and shut its doors for several months to undo the damage, recently reopened at full capacity.

Last summer Frontier Airlines began nonstop service between Austin, Texas, and Branson. The carrier also inaugurated seasonal nonstop flights between Branson and both Milwaukee and Phoenix last September.

Meeting Hotels
Properties in the city include the 626-room Branson Woods Resort, 472-room Radisson Hotel Branson, 350-room Thousand Hills Golf & Conference Resort, 345-room Howard Johnson Hotel, 301-room Chateau on the Lake Resort & Spa, 300-room Hilton Branson Convention Center Hotel, 300-room Stonecastle Hotel & Conference Center, 243-room Big Cedar Lodge, 242-room Hilton Promenade at Branson Landing, 210-room Honeysuckle Inn & Conference Center, 200-room Grand Plaza Hotel and 190-room Lodge of the Ozarks. For a more complete listing of Branson properties, visit mcvenues.com.

Convention Center
Branson Convention Center; exhibition space, approximately 50,000 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 19; (417) 336-5401

Airport Transit
Springfield-Branson National Airport, 43 miles north of Branson. Transfer cost by private shuttle, $20 to $80

Branson Airport, 10 miles south of Branson. Transfer cost by taxi, $30

Taxes
Room tax, 11.6%; sales tax, 8.6%; total tax on hotel rooms, 11.6%

Group VenueHollywood Wax Museum
The recently renovated Hollywood Wax Museum, part of the Hollywood Entertainment Cen­ter, is a fun option for a half-day tour. Attendees can browse among myriad silver-screen wax figures ranging from Marilyn Monroe to Gwyneth Paltrow, as well as walk the red carpet, skip down Oz's Yellow Brick Road, beam aboard a spaceship, wander helplessly through a mirror maze and more. (417) 337-8700

Contact
Branson/Lakes Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, (800) 315-8601