Monday, September 14, 2009

SILVER DOLLAR CITY: A GREAT PAST BEHIND ME


Autumn is in the air. The crisp breeze dances among turning leaves and unlocks my memories of years gone by when my children were small. Our favorite fall activity was to pitch a tent in Branson, Missouri and head to Silver Dollar City. For the life of me, I cannot go there today without crying. How I miss those days when five little faces were turned up to me, their eyes dancing and smiles spread wide.


During this time of year, the City bursts with color. The streets, buildings, and gardens are decorated with yellow, orange, and red leaves, fat pumpkins, pots of mums, friendly scarecrows, vines and wreaths. The aroma of roasting corn and smoked turkey drumsticks wraps a friendly arm around our shoulders and draws us to the kiosks that also tempts with huge woks of fried potatoes and onions, and succotash – a mixture of fried okra, whole kernel corn, summer squash, chicken, onion and bell pepper – yum!


Sweet tooth? No problem. How about hot, fried, funnel cakes - crispy on the outside and tender inside, sprinkled with powdered sugar or slathered with white icing? Too rich? There is always kettle corn, ice cream, and fudge!


The above are just snacks. For a full blown meal there are restaurants that specialize in barbecue, salads, fried chicken, grilled food, and home cooking.


It is a good thing that the City is hilly. After all that eating I need to walk. At any given moment a “skit” might commence right in front of you. Seems that the citizens of SDC are always having to create a scene!


When you need to give your feet a rest, there are several shows to see that are included with the price of your ticket. My favorite is the Saloon show. All of them are fun and safe for the kids. Another fun thing to do is ride the train and be part of the “Great Train Robbery.”


Back in the day, my kids loved the rides. Now I just sit and watch the other parents run behind their children. How I would love to be able to sit all those young parents down and tell them to enjoy these days. I know I did.


If rides aren’t your thing, then shop! From clothing to furniture, there is something for everyone. If shopping isn’t your thing, then people watch. It is mind-blowing to see so many different kinds of faces and bodies, and yet we are also the same.


Nature is another big draw for me. The City is nestled in the trees and hills and great care has been taken to preserve the integrity of history as much as possible.


Oh, I forgot the cave! Explore Marvel Cave. In case of a hot fall day, it is a cool respite.


TIPS:


  • If you are going to ride the rides, plan on getting wet. Wear something that dries fast.
  • If you go to the city after 3:00 the next day is free.
  • Decide on a meeting point. The City is big and crowded. We always had our kids check in with us every thirty minutes. (Of course, this was before cell phones. Still it is a good idea)
  • There are strollers to rent.
  • And in case you haven’t already figured it out, take comfy shoes, even if they are ugly!
  • Don’t worry if you seem to be parking miles from the park. There are trams to take you there and the wait isn’t long. Just remember to duck your head when you get on and make a note of the parking lot you are in.
  • If you plan on visiting the city more than once, it is cheaper to get a season pass. Go to the site for more information.


From now until October 31 is the National Harvest Festival. There are 500 visiting craftsmen and musicians. Blue grass music puts a tap in your step, gospel quartets harmonize on the breeze inviting all who hear to hum along. Another big attraction is their stage show, Headin’ West, a tale of the westward movement in the 1860’s, which is only performed during this season.


Silver Dollar City’s slogan is, “You have a great past ahead of you.” For me it is a reminder of a great past that is behind me. One of three little boys and two little girls with large eyes trying to take in everything at once, laughing, playing, sticky with funnel cakes, and soaked to the skin. Then at the end of the day my exhausted babies slept on the floor like a pile of puppies.


Good times.