A 70-Year Downtown Branson Tradition

It’s visible from practically all of downtown day or night this time of year … across Lake Taneycomo from downtown Branson is the locally famous Adoration Scene.

Originally built in 1949 by businessman Joe Todd and designed by local artist Steve Miller, it depicts the Christmas nativity scene in the style of a classic Christmas card and sits atop Mount Branson. The  scene has remained largely unchanged for seven decades, though many pieces had to be rebuilt or restored after the site took a direct hit from a tornado in 2012.

At a towering 28 feet tall, it is one of the Ozarks largest and longest-standing holiday traditions. Hanging above the scene is the brilliant 20-point Star of Bethlehem, unveiled in 2012 and far outshining the original 1949 star (which was lit with only 10 bulbs).

Though visible throughout the Christmas season, the scene isn’t lit until dusk on the first Sunday in December (this year, Dec. 2).

Following the lighting, the annual, noncommercial Adoration Parade celebrates the true spirit of Christmas. It features local organizations and high school marching bands and performers of all kinds. Sometimes even calling Saint Nicholas himself out.

Branson's Adoration Parade
Branson’s Adoration Parade

Trolley schedule change

Due to street closures related to the parade, the Sparky trolleys will only run until 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 2. The trolleys will resume their normal 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. schedule on Monday, Dec. 3.

Though the city has changed much in the past seven decades, the Downtown Branson Adoration Scene has remained much the same since it was unveiled in 1949 (pictured circa 1959, source: Missouri State Archives)