Every fall, from mid-September through October, Branson, Mo.’s Silver Dollar City theme park hosts a Harvest Festival with hundreds of craftsmen, cowboy cooking, and glowing pumpkins. For over 60 years, the 1880’s theme park has refined their artisan craft festival into a large scale celebration of the fall season in the Ozark Mountains.
Throughout the year, Silver Dollar City has over 40 rides and attractions including its newest – Mystic River Falls, an eight-story water ride billed as the “tallest water ride drop in the Western Hemisphere.” In addition, the park hosts nearly 100 resident craftsmen including glass-blowers, potters, candy-makers, blacksmiths, furniture makers, and more. Each craftsman demonstrates the traditional art of creating their hand-made wares, which are for sale throughout the shops of the park.
During the Harvest Festival, additional artists and designers create handmade, original work, and the Silver Dollar City streets are adorned with multiple shades of orange as thousands of hand-carved pumpkins and pumpkin sculptures line the walkways.
“The demonstrating craftsmen are very important to the atmosphere of this long-running festival,” says Kelly Eutsler, designer at Silver Dollar City. “Many art fairs highlight the finished products, but our festival is long-known for showing how the crafts are actually created.”
It wouldn’t be a festival without food, and Silver Dollar City’s Harvest Festival menu features all things pumpkin, including pumpkin cheesecake cones, cappuccinos, cinnamon rolls, funnel cakes, churros with pumpkin fluff and more. In addition, there are cowboy cooking demonstrations with Food Network star Kent Rollins as well as all the food the theme park is already known for (vanilla-iced cinnamon rolls and loaves, fried chicken, skillet dishes, and ice cream topped warm apple dumplings).
As the sun sets, thousands of hand-carved pumpkins begin to glow. Pumpkin Plaza comes alive with carvings, sculptures, pumpkin pals, and glow-in-the-dark fun. Pumpkins in the City returns for its second season, bringing renewed energy to the fall destination of Branson. The rides are open all day and all night, which brings another reason to visit, said Eutsler, “What once was considered a season more for adults now offers something big for families and kids, too.”
Silver Dollar City’s Harvest Festival featuring Crafts, Cowboys and Pumpkins runs from Sept. 23 – Oct. 31, 2020. To learn more, visit SilverDollarCity.com.