Many people wonder how a tiny town in a quiet corner of the Midwest became a major center of entertainment and tourism. If you pay a visit to the Branson, Missouri, area, it starts to make more sense. The mountains and lakes of southwest Missouri are a beautiful place to visit. In fact, a fair number of people have been vacationing there since the early 1900s. Entertainers recognized these visitors as a steady audience for their performances and realized that Branson would be a pleasant place to spend part of the year. Put big-name entertainment into a friendly locale—with good fishing and breathtaking scenery—and it's not so surprising that the small town of Branson does big business.

But Branson is a small town. It has a residential population of about 10,500, although its daily population averages about 30,000. It offers more than 100 shows at 53 venues, more than 260 restaurants and eateries, three theme parks, three lakes, 13 golf courses, shopping from outlet to upscale, one-of-a-kind museums and a vast array of other attractions and sights.

And although it may not be entirely attributable to the town's size, visitors will find a conservative sensibility in the majority of Branson's shows. Overall, Branson targets its offerings to its core audience of families and empty-nesters and will most appeal to those seeking a wholesome atmosphere and middle-of-the-road entertainment.

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