Branson Trail of Lights
Like the Joplin Christmas window display, Branson's Trail of Lights is a Christmas attraction you can still see, but only through the night of January 1. What sets this display apart from others I've seen is that in addition to many lighted frames, they have automated scenes, such as these polar bears in part of "Eskimoland."
The trail, a 2 1/2 mile drive-through attraction begun in about 1990, is a Christmas addition to the Sheppard of the Hills complex. "Froggie Frolics" was one of the first automated scenes added to the 2 1/2 mile drive-through attraction:
There are many conventional Christmas scenes, from a Victorian Village to elves preparing many aspects of Christmas, but what I liked most were the off-beat scenes like Santa on the beach. Mele Kalikimaka, sung by Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters, plays near this particular display:
Oh, how I wanted to sneak a proper tiki mug onto that tray. And what's with elves still serving Santa in the off-season. Don't these guys get a break?
My favorite displays were "Mission Control", above, and "A Christmas that's Out of This World", below. video
The saucer reminds me of one atop Fairchild Industries in Joplin, Missouri, back in the late 1960's, but the displays here date only back to about 1980.
The Branson Trail of Lights generally opens around Thanksgiving and closes this year (2010) after Saturday, January 1. They seem to add new stuff every year. Admission was $10 per person in 2010, with a maximum of $40 per car. Check the Trail of Lights website for details.
Other Branson Christmas stuff: Andy Williams, Johnny Mathis
I stumbled upon your blog after searching for mummies, and I find it fascinating. I love it! Have you ever been to Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum up in Michigan? It's chock full of antique and vintage coin-ops and oddities that are (mostly) all operable. It also has tons of random stuff (like a Cardiff giant and "Sing-Sing Electric Chair"). I think it would be right up your alley.
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