The Group Travel Leader

JAN 2017

The online home of The Group Travel Leader, America's leading publication for the group travel industry. Articles on hot destinations, attractions, news and travel trends from across the country and around the world.

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Come celebrate with us If the sights, sounds and tastes of festivals appeal to your groups, Missouri has a variety of options to consider. One such celebration is the annual Dogwood-Azalea Festival held each spring in the southeast Missouri city of Charleston. Ranked as one of the country's top spring flower festivals by Fodor's Travel, Charleston's Dogwood-Azalea Festival (April 20-23, 2017) is a long-running tradition, celebrating 49 years in 2017. Along with showcas- ing the area's floral beauty, the festival includes live music, a carnival, home tours, carriage rides and an ice cream social. CharlestonMo.org/ festival Live music also is a focus of the annual Old Time Music/ Ozark Heritage Festival in West Plains. Held June 16-17, 2017, this festival focuses on musical traditions of the Ozarks and features local and regional musicians. The festival also celebrates folk-life traditions of the Ozarks, with cooking, blacksmithing, quilting and pottery making demonstrations a part of the mix. Groups are welcome to attend this festive event. OldTimeMusic.org A couple of hours to the west, the holiday season is the center of attention during Ozark Mountain Christmas, with Branson serving as a hub for variety of activities. From the beginning of November through New Year's Eve, Branson's attractions and live shows are decked out in their holiday best with performances and activities inspired by the season. Among the must-see stops is Silver Dollar City, which hosts the An Old Time Christmas festival. The event includes live holiday-themed shows, 5 million lights and more than 1,000 decorated Christmas trees. The 2.5-mile Shepherd of the Hills Trail of Lights also is a popular destination during the holidays, thanks to millions of multi-colored lights, displays and the chance to ride to the top of the 230-foot Inspiration Tower to see it all from above. Many activities in Branson are group-friendly, including those happening as part of Ozark Mountain Christmas. ExploreBranson.com/Christmas

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