Uplifting music and soul-filled harmonies fill the stages when the chart-topping performers in Southern Gospel music gather for Silver Dollar City’s Southern Gospel Picnic, one of America’s premier Southern Gospel events. The festival features top groups from traditional to contemporary plus newcomers in the genre at the Branson, Missouri theme park, August 27 – September 7.
“Southern Gospel fans will find most of the chart-topping groups here, including Dove award winners and legendary bands,” said festival coordinator D.A. Callaway. “We also look for new artists coming up in this industry, adding new sounds to the rich heritage of Southern Gospel music.” The variety of performers and styles adds depth to the lineup of 64 groups featured during the festival, from The Booth Brothers to emerging artists like The Browders, he said.
Featured performers include Dove Award winners and Grammy nominees Jeff & Sheri Easter, The Isaacs, The Martins, Karen Peck & New River and Ernie Haase & Signature Sound. Featured Singing News Fan Award stars include The Booth Brothers, The Hoppers, Legacy Five, and the Triumphant Quartet, 6-time Singing News Male Quartet of the Year. Legendary groups include The Blackwood Brothers Quartet, winners of eight Grammys and five Dove Awards; Gospel Music Hall of Fame Award Winners The Kingsmen and the Gold City Quartet. Fan favorites include The Mark Trammel Quartet and The McKameys. Daytime performances on stages throughout the park are followed by Southern Gospel Nights concerts each evening in the park’s 4,000-seat amphitheater.
A special event for Southern Gospel Picnic will be the Gold City Reunion, with performances by former Gold City Quartet members from their classic early years, featuring Jay Parrack, Jonathan Wilburn, Mark Trammell and Tim Riley. Popular contemporary groups include The Martins, winners of eight Dove Awards, and popular duo Aaron & Amanda Crabb.
Special Sunday worship services are presented with the Hosea Bilyeu Family on August 30, and with pastor and noted humorist Dennis Swanberg on September 6.
The park’s popular House of Chicken and Fixin’s on the Square features double-battered fried chicken, apple butter-glazed chicken, hickory-smoked and barbecue chicken, with favorite “fixin’s” from scalloped potatoes and baked beans to fresh-baked blackberry cobbler.
Southern Gospel Picnic visitors can also enjoy Silver Dollar City’s 40 rides and attractions, including the new Fireman’s Landing, an $8 million development with 10 new family adventures in an all-new area. New for 2015, Fireman’s Landing substantially increases the park’s attractions, adding six family rides and four interactive play zones for kids and families in a highly themed area, saluting the spirit and training activities of community volunteer firefighters.
Throughout the festival, the park is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. August 27 – September 7 with extended hours on Saturdays and on Sunday, September 6. Information: 800-831-4FUN or www.silverdollarcity.com.
Featured Aboard the Showboat Branson Belle: Southern Gospel Cruises Southern Gospel fans can cruise with their favorite artists aboard the Showboat Branson Belle, as Southern Gospel Cruises return, August 30 – September 6. These special noon cruises include inspirational songs by the ship’s Celebrate performers, followed by Southern Gospel artists including: The Talleys on August 30; The Freemanson August 31; The Jim Brady Trio on September 1; The Nelons on September 2; The Taylors on September 3;the Reggie Saddler Family on September 4; Brian Free & Assurance on September 5; and Gordon Mote onSeptember 6.
Each cruise features a three-course meal from the Showboat’s Chef Larry, including slow-simmered beef roast and honey-Dijon glazed chicken topped off with the chef’s own Golden Brittle Lemon-Berry Torte. All meals are prepared onboard in the ship’s galley and served in the three-story atrium dining theater. Specialty dining options include the Paddle Wheel Club Room and Captain’s Row.
The Showboat Branson Belle cruises Table Rock Lake in Branson, Missouri March 7 through December 31. Information:800-775-BOAT(2628) or www.showboatbransonbelle.com.