Branson’s Farmer’s Market combines produce and history

The Downtown Branson Farmer’s Market in historic downtown Branson provides visitors and locals alike with a unique opportunity not available in any other Farmer’s Market anywhere. That uniqueness is not its wares, all kinds of locally grown plants and produce with locally produced canned goods and crafts; it’s in its historic location.

Branson’s Farmer’s Market is located in the parking lot on the southeast corner of the intersection of Business Highway 65 and Pacific Streets. While participating in the Market, vendors, producers, and customers are surrounded by the historical seeds that provided the initial “plants” in what has grown into one of the biggest Family Entertainment Markets in the world, Branson, Missouri.

One of those seeds is the back of the historic Owen’s Theatre located on the east side of the parking lot. The Owens Theatre was built in 1935 as a movie theatre, by Jim Owen, a local fishing guide and float trip operator on the White River. Owen built the theatre to provide entertainment for locals and his guiding clients while they weren’t fishing. It is considered by most as Branson’s first “theatre,” movie or otherwise.

The second seed was planted over two decades later in 1959 when the Mabe brothers, Bob, Bill, Jim and Lyle along with Delbert Howard and Chick Allen, started a show in a rented room in the lower level of the old “city hall community building” located between the back of the Owen’s Theatre and what is now Business Highway 65 in the general locality of the current public rest rooms. The name of the show was the “Baldknobbers Jamboree,” which most acknowledge as “the first show in Branson,” and the rest is history.

The Downtown Branson Farmer’s Market (Market) is sponsored by the Historic Downtown Branson Business Owners Association (Association), made up of business owners and operators located in the historic downtown district. The Market is held every Saturday, until the end of October, from 7:30 a.m. until noon.

This is the first year that the Association has sponsored the Market. David King, the owner of Branson Bill’s Emporium in historic downtown Branson and one of the Association’s coordinators for the Market, is excited about the event because it is consistent with both the heritage of the Ozarks and the atmosphere that the Association wants to maintain and project for the historic downtown district. Saturday, May 31, was the third week of the Market’s operation.

According to Kim King, although the market is still in its developing stages both the participating producers and the customers seem very satisfied. She indicated that the sales have been good for most producers and that, although there is currently room for more producers, that is expected to change within the next few weeks as the produce is harvested in the local area.

King said that any producers interested in participating or anyone needing additional information on the Market should call them at 417-335-5281 or Cindy Brooks of Clocker’s Café at 417-335-2328.

Reprinted with permission of the Tri-Lakes Tribune, a free newspaper published and distributed three times weekly, Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. Please call 417-336-NEWS (6397) for classified and display advertising opportunities.