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National Harvest & Cowboy Festival opens – Branson Tri |

National Harvest & Cowboy Festival opens – Branson Tri

It’s fall in Ozark Mountain Country, and Silver Dollar City is celebrating the same way it has for more than 50 years, with National Harvest Cowboy Festival, opening Wednesday, and running through Oct. 28.

In addition to the park’s more than 40 rides and attractions, as well as live shows, the park features 125 visiting craftsmen, including Best of Missouri Hands juried artists, joining Silver Dollar City’s 100 traditional craftsmen. The craftsmen demonstrate leather working, copper color art, stone art, fiddle making, basket weaving, gourd painting and jewelry making.

Also returning is the “Wild West Show,” which captures the excitement of the popular Wild West shows of the 1880s, with trick riders, performing canines and a new marksmanship demonstration by sharpshooting champion Kala Howard, who fires at targets while riding horseback. The show also features eight-time World Champion Native American Hoop Dancer Nakotah LaRance, whose skills were showcased in Cirque du Soleil’s touring 

The Wild West Show, hosted by trick roper and bullwhip artist A.J. Silver, who was named Act of the Year by the International Rodeo Association, runs through Oct. 15.

Featured Western music acts include Western Music Association seven-time Female Performer of the Year Belinda Gail, three-time Group of the Year Miss Devon and the Outlaw, Entertainer of the Year and two-time Female Performer of the Year Kristyn Harris, plus the Malpass Brothers and the Home Rangers. The Western Barn Dance also returns, giving all guests a chance to dance to a live band.

Watercolor artist and “Gunsmoke” star Buck Taylor also returns to show off his, as well as several other artists’ work, at Buck Taylor’s Cowboy Emporium, at the Silver Dollar City Frisco Barn. Guests can enjoy cowboy-inspired crafts like saddle making, leather crafting, Native American jewelry making, antler art, moccasin crafting and turkey feather painting.

Chuck wagon historian and chef Kent Rollins, a cattle rancher and chuck wagon cook whose talents have landed him on the Food Network’s “Chopped,” “Throwdown with Bobby Flay,” and “Food Fighters,” will again show off his skills throughout the festival with daily demonstrations on the art of cooking  up authentic, chuck wagon meals.

Also, the Red Gold Courtyard will host “Extreme Mustang Makeovers” wild mustang trainer Fred Woehl, of the Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse Burro Program Advisory Board, as he tames and trains rescued wild mustangs throughout October.

In addition to showing off his “madeover” horses, Woehl always has a few who need to be adopted.

Other harvest-time demonstrations include a mule-powered sorghum press, and food offerings include Harvest Skillets with vegetables and smoked ham, bacon-wrapped smoked Turkey Legs, slow-smoked Prime Rib and Apple Dumplings with homemade Cinnamon Ice Cream. 

The National Harvest Cowboy Festival is set to run Wednesday through Sunday at the park until Oct. 28. The park will then host An Old Time Christmas from Nov. 4 through Dec. 30.

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