LAKE OF THE OZARKS, MO - Families looking to make their holiday season a little more memorable need to look no further than Central Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks. The "Best Recreational Lake" in the Nation has for years been a special holiday destination during the yuletide season with spectacular light displays, entertaining musical shows, superb shopping, delectable dining and other unique events and it all begins in late November with Thanksgiving.
Several Lake of the Ozarks restaurants and resorts are offering full-blown Thanksgiving meals for their guests.
Thanksgiving is a time for families to come together and celebrate and cherish the ones they love and the things for which they are thankful. Those who can't get enough of the robust flavors of traditional Thanksgiving dinners, but don't necessarily have the time or patience for all that cooking or the desire to deal with the dreaded clean up afterward, will appreciate that several of the most popular Lake of the Ozarks restaurants and resorts offer full-blown Thanksgiving meals. J. Bruner's Restaurant (5166 Osage Beach Parkway in Osage Beach) offers diners a savory menu of roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry salad, candied yams and delectable desserts. H. Toad's Bar & Grill at Camden on the Lake Resort and Marina (2325 Bittersweet Road, Lake Ozark), The Inn at Grand Glaize (5142 Osage Beach Parkway in Osage Beach), HK's Restaurant at The Lodge of Four Seasons(315 Four Seasons Road in Lake Ozark), The Trophy Room at Old Kinderhook (58 Club Place in Camdenton) and Tan-Tar-A Resort (494 Tan Tar A Drive in Osage Beach) are offering Thanksgiving buffets with all the trimmings for their guests. For more details on the menu and hours of the Thanksgiving dinners at J. Bruners, visit www.JBruners.com; for H. Toad's at Camden on the Lake, check out www.HToads.com; for the Inn at Grand Glaize, visit www.InnAtGrandGlaize.com; for The Lodge of Four Seasons, go to www.4SeasonsResort.com; for Old Kinderhook, visit www.OldKinderhook.com and for Tan-Tar-A Resort, head to www.Tan-Tar-A.com.
Tan-Tar-A will also offer many activities throughout the long weekend, including a bonfire, sing-alongs, visits with Santa and his elves, a comedic magic show, the lighting of the resort's holiday lights and more on Thursday. Friday, shoppers can take advantage of Tan-Tar-A's Black Friday deals in its various retail stores located on the property and younger guests can enjoy a Duck Drop race at Timberfalls, the Lake's only indoor waterpark, also on property.
Horse-drawn carriage rides will be offered during
Old Kinderhook's Christmas Village, Fridays through Sundays, November 26 through Christmas.
Thanksgiving weekend also officially marks the beginning of the holiday season at Old Kinderhook. The resort's annual Christmas Village opens on Saturday, Nov. 26, featuring visits from Mister and Missus Claus and their merrymakers, carolers, ginger bread house-making stations, horse-drawn carriage rides and more. The Christmas Village will take place every weekend (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) until Christmas. The Ice at Old Kinderhook, the Lake's only outdoor ice skating rink, will also be open for the season for casual holiday skating sessions and a "pond hockey" league. The hours for The Ice are 4-10 p.m. on weekdays and 1-10 p.m. on weekends. Skating lessons are also available the week of December 26. For more details, visit www.OldKinderhook.com.
In 2015, the Enchanted Village of Lights in Laurie attracted nearly 20,000 visitors to city's fairgrounds.
The Lake area's three drive-through holiday light parks will also be open for the season on Thanksgiving. The Enchanted Village of Lights, the largest light park in Mid-Missouri, is spread over 27 acres of the fairgrounds in Laurie and is open from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. on weekdays and until 10 p.m. on weekends. Also in Laurie is the Festival of Lights at St. Patrick's Shrine. The Festival of Lights is open from 6-10 p.m. And, the Unity Circle of Lights in Versailles is open from dark until midnight. Admission to all three light parks is free, but donations are welcome. For more information about the light parks, visit LakeHolidayLights.com.
In Osage Beach, the city park and many businesses along Osage Beach Parkway will be dressed up in the holiday spirit from November 26 through December 31. Also at the city park, children of all ages can meet Santa Claus from 3-5 p.m. on December 19. For more information, visit www.OsageBeach.org.
Enjoy a holiday dinner cruise with live entertainment on The Celebration luxury yacht during the annual Deck the Docks benefit for the Dogwood Animal Shelter.
Other festive events and activities around the Lake include the Deck the Docksholiday lights dinner cruises on The Celebration motor yacht from November 25 though December 30. Visitors can take in the spectacular sights of lakefront homes and boat docks decked out in decorations and lights while enjoying a delicious dinner and live musical entertainment on this 100-plus passenger luxury yacht. The Deck the Docks cruises begin boarding at 5:30 p.m. at 5085 Davis Drive in Osage Beach and are on the water from 6-9 p.m. on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Proceeds from these holiday dinner cruises go to benefit the Dogwood Animal Shelter. For additional details on different cruises, prices or how to book a reservation, visit www.CruiseLakeOfTheOzarks.com.
The Steps Dance Studio presents the 17th annual performance of The Nutcracker Ballet November 26 and 27 in the Cummings Auditorium at the School of the Osage.
On November 26, beginning at 6 p.m., visitors can watch a procession of fun floats decked out in lights during the 15th Annual Lighted Christmas Parade in Laurie. The Lake of the Ozarks' Steps Dance Studio presents its 17th annual performance of the world-famous Nutcracker Balleton November 26 and 27 in the Cummings Auditorium at the School of the Osage in Osage Beach. This take on the classic Christmas tale features colorful and elaborate costumes and sets as well as young local dancers ages three through 17 performing alongside professionals from the community. The City of Versailles' "Olde Fashioned Christmas on the Square," which takes place from 4-8:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3 in its historic downtown, features many craft and food vendors, live choir performances, horse-drawn carriage rides and a visit from Old Saint Nick. Additionally, the city of Lake Ozark hosts its 32nd annual "Christmas Magic" parade Saturday, Dec. 10. The parade route winds along the historic Bagnell Dam Boulevard. Afterward, children will have the opportunity to visit with Santa and receive a free stocking stuffed with goodies from the merrymaker himself. For more information on these and other holiday events around the Lake, visit the event calendar at www.FunLake.com.
Carols, comedy and a talented cast make the Christmas on Main Street show a popular holiday tradition at the Lake of the Ozarks.
Another longstanding Lake of the Ozarks holiday tradition is the popular and entertaining musical variety show, Christmas on Main Street, at the Main Street Music Hall at the Landing in Osage Beach. Holiday carols, gospel hymns, musical impersonations and comedy are all included in a great seasonal show offered by the cast of talented singers and musicians of the Music Hall family. The Christmas on Main Street show kicks off on Friday, Nov. 25 and runs through Sunday, Dec. 18. Evening shows start at 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and there's a 3 p.m. matinee show on Sundays. For more information, including show dates, times and ticket prices, or to make reservations, call the Main Street Music Hall box office at 800-348-9501 or visit www.LakeMusicHall.com.
Another opportunity to enjoy live holiday music includes the Lake Area Community Orchestra's annual Winter Concert Series. The 2016 program, called "Syncopated Clocks" and directed by Rose Adams, features many Lake-area musicians and takes place November 27, 29, December 4, 6, 11 and 13 at various venues around the Lake of the Ozarks. Admission is free, though donations are welcome. For details on the Winter Concert Series, visit www.LakeAreaCommunityOrchestra.org.
The Lake of the Ozarks also is an ideal destination for marking items off Christmas gift lists of any length. The Lake is home to Osage Beach Premium Outlets, the largest brand-name factory outlet mall in Missouri, and The Landing on Main Street, a beautiful Victorian-themed village with over 20 boutique shops offering everything from home decor to chic clothing, kitschy souvenirs to homemade confections. There are also many antique shops around the Lake area and many unique shops and boutiques along the historic Bagnell Dam Strip in Lake Ozark. And, to make the deals even sweeter, many of the Lake area lodging properties offer "Shop and Stay" or "Shop 'til You Drop" packages that include coupon books to the outlet mall worth hundreds of dollars in savings. Some lodging properties even throw in a pre-paid gift card for up to $50 for the outlet mall. For more information about shopping at the Lake, click on the "shopping" tab at www.FunLake.com.
Many Lake-area accommodations get dressed up for the holidays and offer special money-saving deals for their guests. Pictured is the Hearth Room at Old Kinderhook.
Some of the most memorable holiday traditions at the Lake of the Ozarks revolve around spending quality time with family and friends in a warm and relaxed setting that has all the comforts of home. Visitors can easily find the perfect accommodations for groups and families of all sizes. Accommodations at the Lake include resorts, cabins, condos, vacation homes, hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, and RV parks. And, with special winter and holiday lodging rates, travelers can save as much as 40 percent off in-season rates. For all the different lodging options available around the Lake, click on the "Places to Stay" tab at www.FunLake.com.
Visitors can also ring in the New Year in style at the Lake of the Ozarks. Camden on the Lake, The Inn at Grand Glaize, The Lodge of Four Seasons, Old Kinderhook and Tan-Tar-A Resort, just to name a few, are offering special New Year's Eve dinners, events and specials and there will be Lake-wide fireworks displays at the stroke of midnight on January 1.
For complete details on all the holiday events, seasonal attractions, as well as options for dining and lodging at the "Best Recreational Lake in the Nation," Central Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks, visit the Convention and Visitor Bureau's award-winning website at www.FunLake.com.