75 Years of Celebrating the Meaning of Christmas – Branson’s Adoration Parade

The Downtown Branson Adoration Scene has remained much the same since its inception in the late 1940s (pictured circa 1959, source: Missouri State Archives)

Branson turns into a Christmas wonderland at the beginning of each November, but if you ask a local, you’ll find the Christmas season officially begins on the first Sunday of December every year. That’s when Branson holds it’s Adoration Parade and annual Adoration Scene lighting, an event that is unapologetically non-commercial and designed to remind participants of the Christian roots of Christmas.

It’s a unique experience that is at the heart of the Christmas season and shows the emphasis on faith and community in Branson.

A 28-foot-tall nativity scene sits high on a bluff opposite Downtown Branson. Branson businessmen Joe Todd and Steve Miller designed the adoration scene three-quarters of a century ago. The scene was lovingly maintained and displayed each year until 2012, when it took a direct hit from a tornado. The scene was was rebuilt that year using original specifications and photographs, and the Star of Bethlehem was upgraded with a larger and brighter star.

Every year, the scene is illuminated at sundown as the kickoff to The Adoration Parade.

75th Annual Adoration Parade

Enjoy the 75th annual Adoration Parade and Lighting Ceremony on Sunday, Dec. 3, 2022, at 5:30 p.m. in Historic Downtown Branson.

The parade route begins in the Branson Convention Center parking lot, travels north along Branson Landing Blvd. and turns south onto Commercial St., to wind back to the parking lot.

Spectators will see marching bands, floats designed by area organizations and churches, candy tossed into the crowd, and a guest appearance from Santa Claus.

Arrive early to secure a viewing spot (and dress warm!). Some locals arrive hours earlier to save places with chairs, blankets, and people. Consider parking somewhere on the outskirts of the parade route because sometimes it’s faster to walk a couple of blocks back to your car to avoid getting caught in post-parade traffic.

Limited Trolley Service on Sunday

Sparky normally runs from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, but because of the road closures related to the Adoration Parade, the free downtown trolleys will only be operating from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Sunday. Also, the trolleys will not be able to stop at Awberry Parking Lot (Stop #7) on Sunday because of the parade.