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Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede
1525 W. Highway 76
Branson, MO 65616

Lest you think we are total snobs, our own entertainment option this evening was Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede, which is sort of Medieval Times recast as a way to settle, “once and for all,” the cheery host tells us, that icky unpleasantness known as the Civil War, or, as they put it “the time when folks who had a different ideas of patriotism” apparently had words over it.

And how does one go about doing that? By dividing the roughly 1,000-seat amphitheater into north and south sides and having them cheer on contestants in pig, chicken, and ostrich races. Ah, if only all wars could be settled that way.

Now, Mary never got over horse-crazy phase and the show had plenty of pretty horsies, excellent trick riding and the like, plus real buffalo, so she was happy.

The rest of the show—all singing! All dancing!—was earnestly performed, and if the songs were blah and forgettable, the energy was high. We were particularly amused at the recasting of antebellum South as a place of fun barbeques and parties and the North as—well, we aren’t sure, since it’s hard to write catchy tunes about NYC intellectuals and the Transcendentalists, so they settled for some kind of aerialist circus act duet with a man on horseback. It had something to do with Yankee ingenuity, but we never got the connection.

And there were pig races! And ostrich races! And if you’re able to let go of the fact that a big portion of the show reduces a tragic part of American history into an episode of “Hee-Haw” it can be a great deal of fun. And it was a good value especially when you consider that your $49 gets you the show and food!

Oh right, the food! A garlicky biscuit, soup that was mostly half-and-half, a whole and unexpectedly moist small chicken, a piece of pork, buttery corn, puff pastry apple turnover, and unlimited Pepsi or iced tea. It was much better than any meal prepared a thousand at a time has a right to be.

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