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The 47th Annual Autumn Daze Arts, Crafts, and Music Festival begins Thursday in downtown Branson. The festival features an array of vendors, as seen in this 2019 photo.

It’s officially time for the 47th Annual Autumn Daze Arts, Crafts, and Music Festival.

“We set up a large tent in Awberry Parking lot, and that’s where all of our vendors will mostly be,” said Executive Director of Downtown Branson Betterment Association Jessica Luthardt. “We also close off the portion of Commercial Street in front of Awberry Parking Lot, and that’s where we’ll have our food vendors.”

This festival is being held this week Thursday, Sept. 17 till Saturday, Sept. 19.

Operations will be from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday and on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“This particular year is really unique, not only because we’re dealing with the COVID pandemic but because so many of our festivals in the region have decided to go ahead and cancel and let their events go,” said Luthardt. “So, we wanted to, if we were able to, safely keep this festival going. Because of that, we have a lot of regional vendors that are coming for the first time to our town of Branson for this Autumn Daze Festival, and that’s really exciting to have so many new items and new people coming in.”

According to a press release provided by Luthardt, new vendors from as far as Illinois and Tennessee will be a part of the 47th Autumn Daze Festival to present their handmade items, including rugs, woodworks, glasswork, jewelry, clothing, children’s toys, soaps, lotions and more. 

Vendors will also demonstrate their skills for everyone’s viewing pleasure.

“We’re really excited to have a new food vendor this year. The name of it is called ‘Fried What?!’ because they go ahead and they fry up just about anything that you can think of,” said Luthardt. “It’s really fun. Some of his menu includes sweet and savory, so they’ll have fried cheesecake, key lime pie, Oreos, donuts, cinnamon rolls, brownies with ice cream, strawberry shortcake, raspberry zingers, fried ice cream. It’s really a unique item for us, and of course we’ll be having our K&C Concessions, which has Italian sausage and Polish sausage, walking tacos and cheesesteak subs. We’ll have our kettle corn, pork rinds and even for the first time Carly’s Healthy Cuisine is going to join us serving up their bubble tea, which is really popular right now.”

According to Luthardt, the festival will host special guest Nicholas Inman, who is an author, editor and publisher. He will present his latest publication, Our America Magazine, as well as his daughter, who will be in full costume, who plays Laura Ingalls Wilder at the property’s heritage festival. 

“Nicholas Inman, he’s with the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Society and he works with the Wilder Days over in Mansfield,” said Luthardt. “He’s just published ‘Our America Magazine’ and he has a rich history of friendships with past presidents and he also has made a lot of Hollywood friends including world famous actress Olivia De Haviland who just passed away. She was actually the featured article on his first magazine publication. He has extensive experience with her so he tells his stories about just knowing her and being in those circles. So, he’s coming for Autumn Daze, he’ll have a booth set up where you can sign up for his magazine. He’s just got a lot of great stories to tell.”

The Autumn Daze’s entertainment stage, which will be located in a big tent in front of Regions Bank on Commercial Street, will be active every day with local Branson entertainers David Brooks, Mark Allred, Rick McEwen, Olena Bosworth on Cello, Ermal Williamson and his yodeling bride, Potterswheel, Abundance Quartet, Harmony Trio, Tom Lovato, Johnny Morokko, the Branson Regional Arts Council’s Staccato Show Choir and more.

There will also be measures in place to help keep all those who attend the event safe due to the pandemic. This includes abiding by the city of Branson’s face covering ordinance, social distancing and personal hygiene.

“With Autumn Daze, we’re going to be following the CDC guidelines that have been set forth and really what the public has been doing for themselves as we try to get back to our day-to-day business, and that is we’re going to have hand sanitizer,” said Luthardt. “Every vendor is going to have their own hand sanitizer, plus we as an organization will have it at general locations, where the food court is, etc., in the entertainment tent. We’re going to be practicing that safe distance, reminding people to keep six feet apart and the vendors will be wearing face masks. We have vendors that have already done a few shows, and they’ve already set up their booths to be able to safely deal with the public and their patrons.”

For more information about the 47th Autumn Daze Festival, call 417-334-1548, e-mail admin@downtownbranson.org or visit www.ExploreBranson.com/downtown.

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