Downtown Branson hosts Plumb Nellie Days

Arts and crafts, live music, the Outrageous Dog Show, sidewalk sales and other family fun are featured May 16-18 at the 35th Annual Plumb Nellie Days.

Organized by the Downtown Branson Main Street Association (DBMA), Plumb Nellie Days is a springtime tradition, said DBMA Events Coordinator Paula Gillispie. Gillispie has pulled together the details for the three-day event. More than 120 booths have been reserved by artists, crafters and food vendors. Many of the craft booths will be under a tent. The crafts tent and other booths will be arranged on the Awbery parking lot at Commercial and Pacific Streets in downtown Branson, just behind Dick’s Old-Fashioned 5 & 10.

The arts and crafts festival will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, May 16-17, and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, May 18. The crafts show is free to the public. Live music is also planned, and the entertainment schedule will be announced next week.

Downtown merchants will also hold sidewalk sales during Plumb Nellie Days.

One of Plumb Nellie Days’ most popular features is the Outrageous Dog Show, sponsored by Reigning Cats & Dogs and Camp Little Paws. Registration begins at 9 a.m. Saturday, and the dog show begins at 10 a.m. Divisions include longest ears, cutest puppy, ugliest dog, most talented, shortest legs, most spots, longest tail, owner look-alike and other divisions. The entry fee is $3 per child with a dog, and $5 per adult with a dog. Every dog will win a prize, Gillispie said.

Some dogs may also win homes on Saturday. For the first time, Plumb Nellie Days will offer pet adoptions of dogs from the Taney County Animal Shelter. Adoption details will be announced next week with all the final counts and details of Plumb Nellie Days, said DBMA Executive Director Dawn Erickson.

“Plumb Nellie Days goes back to the mid-20th century in Branson,” Erickson said. “When I was growing up in Branson, we looked forward to this festival all year long. We dressed up in pioneer costumes, the men had beard-growing contests, and the kids competed in greased pig and other old-fashioned competitions, and everyone came to watch the parade. A carnival was set up near the railroad tracks, and cakewalks and other games were held on Commercial Street.

“I’ve always heard that the name is derived from an old-fashioned surveyor’s term “plumb” which means exactly, and ‘nellie’ is a colloquial expression for ‘nearly.” We think the word spring was also part of the original name. So Plumb Nellie probably means ‘exactly nearly spring.’ It makes no sense, but it’s such a fun name for a springtime festival.”

“Volunteers are very much a part of Plumb Nellie Days,” Gillispie said. “The volunteers who help out every week at the DBMA office are also part of Plumb Nellie Days, and we have some volunteers specifically for special events. We certainly appreciate the help, and we can never have too many volunteers. Anyone with some extra time Friday, Saturday or Sunday may call me and we can arrange a schedule.”

Information about Plumb Nellie Days and other DBMA activities is available by calling 417-334-1548 or emailing through the Request Information Form on the DBMA Web Site.