Monday, November 17, 2014

2014 Holiday Events at Lake of the Ozarks

From the "gobble, gobble" of Thanksgiving to the "ho, ho, ho" of the Christmas season, Central Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks is the place to celebrate the holidays.

For those who don't want to cook - but do want to eat - on Thanksgiving Day, a number of the Lake area's resorts and restaurants offer turkey and all the trimmings. Visit www.funlakeevents.com for a list of Thanksgiving buffets open around The Lake on November 27th.


In addition to Thanksgiving meals, there are special activities to kick off the holiday season at two of the area's full-service resorts.  The Lodge of Four Seasons offers carriage rides through the resort to enjoy the festive holiday decorations. The carriage rides are available Nov. 27th–29th, December 5th & 6th and December 12th & 13th.  Breakfast with Santa on December 6th and 13th is another holiday treat at The Lodge.  Learn more at www.4seasonsresort.com

Thanksgiving Day at Tan-Tar-A Resort will feature a Tailgate Party and a bonfire and sing-along before the lighting of the resort's Christmas decorations. And if you're feeling over-stuffed from your Thanksgiving feast, get out to burn some calories in Tan-Tar-A's Turkey Trot 5K on November 28th.  For more on Tan-Tar-A's festivities, visit www.Tan-Tar-A.com.

Visitors can enjoy holiday lights throughout the Lake of the Ozarks area at several drive-through parks featuring lighting displays that encompass thousands of brightly burning bulbs.


From November 17th to January 1st, the City of Laurie presents the Enchanted Village of Lights at the Laurie Fairgrounds. The Fairgrounds' 27 acres will be filled with displays, from small ones to towering displays over 30 feet high.  Six new displays will be added this year and LED lights make them shine even brighter than ever.  The smiles on the faces of the visitors shine the brightest, however, as they enjoy this holiday tradition. "Even a Scrooge smiles when he comes here," says Laurie's Events and Parks Coordinator Susann Huff. The Enchanted Village of Lights opens each day at 5:00 pm. The park will stay open until at least 9:00 pm on weekdays and 10:00 pm on weekends. There is no charge to drive through the village, but any donations will be put to use in refurbishing and preserving the displays for the future. More information about the event, including exact hours of operation, can be found at www.CityofLaurie.com/EnchantedLights.

Also in Laurie, and opening Thanksgiving Day, The Festival of Lights at the Shrine of St. Patrick on Hwy. 5 is the oldest light park in the area. Started in 1981, the festival has continued to grow each year, with thousands of lights decorating the buildings and grounds. The site is also the home of the National Shrine of Mary, Mother of the Church, so this display focuses on Jesus and His mother, Mary. The St. Patrick Festival of Lights will be open daily from 6:00–10:00 pm from Thanksgiving through January 1st. There is no charge for the beautiful light display; it's simply a gift to the community. Learn more at www.ShrineOfStPatrick.org.

Lights shine brightly in the City of Versailles, as well, with the city park aglow for the Unity Circle of Lights.  Beginning November 26th and continuing through January 1st, the holiday light park will feature approximately 40 glowing and animated holiday scenes. The light park is named for the "Unity Circle," a monument at the park entrance that shows cooperation among community members.  For more information, visit the website at www.CityOfVersailles.org.


The day after Thanksgiving is the busiest shopping day of the year. The Lake's Osage Beach Premium Outlets mall offers extended hours and special savings on that day to make holiday gift-buying easier.  In addition, specialty shops around the area offer gifts for the home, unique clothing, jewelry and other personal items. Antique shops are packed with treasures from the past and handmade crafts.  For more information about shopping at the Lake, click on the "shopping" tab at www.FunLake.com.

Thanksgiving weekend offers family fun in Versailles, which hosts Olde Fashioned Christmas on the Square on Saturday, November 29th, from 5:00–8:00 pm.  Vendor booths will line the historic Courthouse Square and the Versailles Choir will sing on the courthouse steps. Santa will arrive on the Versailles Rural Fire Department's fire engine then adjourn to the Royal Theater. His lap will be ready for sitting and his ears ready to hear children's gift requests. Guests can view and bid on silent auction items in the theater's Annex.  Learn more at www.VersaillesChamber.com/Christmas-on-the-Square.

Also on November 29th, Laurie's 13th annual Lighted Christmas Parade begins at 6:00 pm at Central Bank, traveling north on Hwy. 5 to the Laurie Mall. Santa will ride on a float in the parade, then visit with the children inside the mall.


The music of the holiday season is featured each year as Main Street Music Hall in Osage Beach presents Christmas on Main Street. Holiday carols, gospel hymns, musical impersonations and comedy are all included in a great show offered by Thom and Sandy Gumm, along with their cast of talented singers and musicians. The show is offered on weekends beginning November 7th and continuing through December 21st. For more information, including show dates and times, as well as ticket prices, call the Main Street Music Hall box office at 800-348-9501 or visit www.LakeMusicHall.com.

Deck the Docks is back for 2014 to light up the Lake of the Ozarks waterfront. Climb aboard the Celebration Cruise Boat for a view of beautiful lakefront homes and docks decorated for the season. This is truly a memorable holiday experience that you can only find at Lake of the Ozarks. Cruises run every Friday and Saturday evening between November 28th through December 27th. Tickets must be purchased in advance for this one-of-a-kind attraction. As an added holiday bonus, a part of the proceeds go to support the Dogwood Animal Shelter. Visit www.cruiselake.com for more information or call (573) 480-3212 to reserve your tickets.


The Lake of the Ozarks' newest winter attraction, an outdoor ice rink aptly named "The Ice," opens to the public on December 4th at Old Kinderhook Resort in Camdenton. And on December 5th, a 9:00 pm ceremony will feature the lighting of the grand Christmas tree on The Ice. The skating rink is located next door to The Lodge at Old Kinderhook, a new 84-room expansion at the resort, which is scheduled to open early in 2015. For more information, visit www.OldKinderhook.com.



Camdenton offers a day of family fun at Christmas on the Square, December 6th. This all-day event features food, games, gifts and, of course, a visit from the season's guest of honor - Santa. For more information, visit www.CamdentonChamber.com.

Whether visitors are coming to the Lake to see the lighting displays, check items off the holiday gift list or just escape the demands of the season, the area's lodging properties offer the gift of off-season savings.  Winter and holiday-special lodging rates are some of the lowest of the year at Lake-area resorts, hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, and RV parks.  In some cases, travelers can save as much as 40 percent off in-season rates and give themselves the gift of a good night's rest and relaxation.

The Lake of the Ozarks is also the perfect place to ring in the New Year. Ask your favorite lodging establishment about their New Year's Eve specials. 

For information about all events and activities at the Lake of the Ozarks, as well as information on dining and accommodations, visit our award-winning website at FunLake.com, or call 1-800-FUN-LAKE.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Patriots All Motorcycle Rally at Lake of the Ozarks

Bikers will rally for a cause June 27-28 at Central Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks.  The Patriots All Motorcycle Rally features entertainment and activities for bikers who want to support wounded warriors and their families.  Headlining the entertainment for the event is heavy-metal band Molly Hatchet.  Proceeds from the event are donated to Peterson Outdoor Ministries, a Joplin-based organization that provides recreational activities, counseling and support for veterans and their families. 

This is the second year for the rally, which is moving from Sedalia to the Lake of the Ozarks.  "Sedalia was a great venue for us," rally organizer Angie Thessen said.  "But the Lake can offer more fun things to do for attendees in conjunction with the rally.  People are just drawn to the Lake."
  
Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitor Bureau Executive Director Tim Jacobsen is delighted to have the rally come to the area.  "We love having events for bikers at the Lake," he said.  "We are able to offer a variety of scenic rides, as well as other activities and amenities for bikers.  We support the Patriots All Motorcycle Rally as a way to give back to those who have bravely served our country."

Approximately 1,200 bikers attended last year's event.  Thessen hopes more will come to the Lake and stresses that all activities are open to the public, whether they are bikers or not.  Activities will be held at the Camden on the Lake Resort and Lake of the Ozarks Harley Davidson.

The fun begins with a reception at Camden on the Lake on June 27 for veteran rider groups like American Legion Riders and Patriot Guard Riders, allowing them to meet one another and honoring their service.  Patriot Guard Riders are volunteers who serve as an honor guard at funerals for members of the military, police and firefighters.  They also greet troops who are returning home from overseas and volunteer for veterans' organizations like veterans homes. 

"These volunteers often see one another only at somber occasions," Thessen said. "This event gives them the opportunity to participate in some fun activities and gives us a chance to thank them for what they do."
  

Friday evening's entertainment on the main stage at H. Toad's Bar and Grill at Camden on the Lake Resort will feature "Deff Lepardz," a "Def Leppard" tribute band opening for "The American Hitmen Band."  The American Hitmen Band, which is composed of Marines, formed during Operation Phantom Fury in 2004 when brothers Dan and Tim Cord played for their fellow soldiers in Fallujah, Iraq.  When they returned to Camp Pendleton, Cal., they added fellow Marines to the mix and began playing regularly in Southern California.  After being honorably discharged in 2007, they relocated to Utah and have been performing regularly, including an appearance in Season 8 of "America's Got Talent."

Rally activities continue on Saturday with a bike rodeo, National Guard tank rides and a poker run, as well as scenic rides.  The Patriots All poker run, a new event for this year's motorcycle rally, begins with registration and breakfast at Lake of the Ozarks Harley Davidson, located in Osage Beach.  Stops include Bridal Cave, Dog Days Saloon, Bootlegger's Sports Bar and Grill and ends at Toad Cove at Camden on the Lake.

Also on Saturday, a bike show will be held at Lake of the Ozarks Harley Davidson, with attendees voting for their favorite bikes by making donations for the event.  Information about these activities, including maps for scenic motorcycle rides around the Lake area, is available with registration for the rally.
  
On Saturday evening "Molly Hatchet" will perform on the main stage at H. Toad's Bar and Grill.  "Molly Hatchet" burst into the Southern rock music scene in 1978 and later took on a more heavy metal sound.  In the three decades that have followed, the band has continued touring and recording and has returned to its Southern rock roots.  "The American Hitmen Band" will open for "Molly Hatchet" at the Saturday night show.  There is a $10 cover charge for this event only and VIP tables also are available. Tickets can be purchased at www.CamdenOnTheLake.com. All other activities for the weekend are free, although donations will be accepted throughout the weekend for Peterson Outdoor Ministries.

Peterson Outdoor Ministries is a faith-based organization that offers outdoor recreational opportunities to wounded warriors, as well as people with disabilities or terminal illnesses.  While activities like Wounded Warrior Wildlife Hunts are a primary focus for the ministry, they also offer counseling and support to wounded combat veterans and their families.  One of their goals is to help wounded warriors transition from their lives in the armed forces to their new civilian lives, reducing the suicide rate among these veterans.
  
Thessen, who works as a legislative assistant in the Missouri House of Representatives, and her co-organizer, Maj. Chris Ash from the Missouri National Guard, have seen the need for supports like those offered by Peterson Outdoor Ministries.  In her work with the House of Representatives, Thessen has become involved in veterans' activities.  She met Maj. Ash through these activities and, together, they set out to organize the Patriots All Motorcycle Rally.

"In its first year, the Patriots All Motorcycle Rally not only met, but in many ways exceeded, our goals of thanking our veterans and raising funds to help Peterson Outdoor Ministries," Maj. Ash said.  "With all the bikers, bike lovers, veterans, service members, sponsors, vendors and entertainers, it made sense for us to move to a destination like the Lake of the Ozarks for the second year.  We expect an even better turnout this year, especially since our rally coincides with the 7th Annual Support Our Troops Poker Run."

The Support Our Troops Poker Run, while not a part of the Patriots All rally, supports H.E.R.O.E.S Care, another charitable organization that offers services to military personnel and their families.  The Support Our Troops Poker Run will be held on Friday, June 27, prior to the Patriots All rally and is also headquartered at Camden on the Lake Resort.  More information about this poker run, sponsored by Midwest Boat Party, is available at LakeOzarksPokerRun.com.

For more information, pre-registration or sponsorship opportunities for the Patriots All Motorcycle Rally, contact Angie Thessen or Maj. Chris Ash at PatriotFoundation@outlook.com.


Learn more about all of the attractions and activities, as well as lodging and dining options, at the Lake of the Ozarks, by calling the Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitor Bureau at 1-800-FUN-LAKE (386-5253), or visiting FunLake.com.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Guest Blog: Bassing Bob on Fishing in March at Lake of the Ozarks

Fishing at Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri during March can be one of the most productive times to enjoy and catch fish. During March the days are getting longer, the water temperatures will be warming up and the fish will be starting to move from their winter time holding areas and their metabolism will start get faster, therefore they will be on the hunt for food.

This winter however, has been one of the coldest in many years, the lake has been frozen for most of February and early March water temperatures are in the mid to upper 30’s, therefore the fishing in early March has been quite difficult to get the bass and crappie to bite. For the most part the bass are mostly on the bottom from 20’-30’ of water, holding inside of deep brush piles or suspended over very deep water, without much indication that they want to eat or move to chase a meal. The  crappie have also been more lethargic than usual for this time of the year, however they seem to be more catchable than the bass in deep brush piles and around dock brush piles.

In fact, many of the bass being caught are being caught on crappie jigs by fisherman fishing for crappie in brush piles. This is certainly an indication that brush piles are holding bass and the bass want their meal to be small and brought to them worked very slowly.

Bass tournaments the early part of March have seen weights being way down.   While it is not unusual to see 5 fish limit weights from 18-22 pounds this time of the year, winning weights have been in the 10-12 pound range, with many tournament anglers being shut out from catching a single fish, including me.

The cold water temperature bite that has been successful has been slow rolling a multi rig bait (ala the Alabama Rig), a rig that has multiple swim baits (3-5 baits) that imitate a small school of shad or bait fish. The successful fisherman have been working this style of rig slowly along the bottom in 15 to 30 feet of water or over the top of brush piles. It should be noted that the State of Missouri regulation for multi-rig baits is a total of 3 hooks, therefore for rigs that have capacity for more than three swim baits, you will need to either attach a spinner to the other wires of the rig or use what is referred to as dummy baits, swim baits with no hooks. These can be attached to the rig with a hitch hiker, a hitch hiker is a small screw like wire that the bait without a hook can be added to the rig.

As the water begins to warm, which it will in March, the bass fishing should really turn on.   As the water temperature starts to reach into the low, to mid and high 40’s which is likely through March, the fish will start to move and want to feed. They will start to feel that spring fever,  just as we do.  However, they also are going to start feeling the urge to spawn and/or get into the spawning areas to pre-stage for the spawn. While the spawn on Lake of the Ozarks does not really start to happen until about mid-late April and into May, the end of March as the water temperatures rise, the fish will start to migrate into the areas in preparation for the spawn.

Lake of the Ozarks Bass Fishing pro’s and experts recently met with BassingBob to discuss March bass fishing on the Lake of the Ozarks, this monthly meeting of experts is video taped each month and can be watched in it’s entirety on www.bassingbob.com. A monthly publication for March can also be found on the same web site.

In summary of the experts meeting, there is a lot of similarity amongst the experts regarding what baits to fish, locations and structure. The experts agree that during March the fish will begin to become more active as the water warms into the 40’s. They suggest fishing in and around secondary points that lead to spawning areas. As the fish are still a bit lethargic, it is key to fish slowly. Brush piles and docks around these areas will also hold catchable fish.   The experts pretty much agree on three primary baits to catch bass, a jerkbait, an Alabama Rig and a bottom bait, like a jig or creature bait. As the water begins to warm, fish should become catchable at the more common strike zone depths of 8’ – 15’ of water.  

The bass will also be found close to bait fish and they will likely be close to deep water but up on the flats and secondary points to feed.   It is often overlook at Lake of the Ozarks, that many fish also spawn on bluff ledges. These are often some of your biggest fish. These are often referred to as river fish, as these fish live full time along the river channels of Lake of the Ozarks. These fish will also start to feed and move more as the water temperatures warm. They will come up along the ledges of bluffs and on main lake points to feed. The baits to catch these fish are the same, a suspending jerk bait, Alabama Rig and bottom bait like a jig or creature bait. The jig/creature baits are very successful on bluff ledges by pulling the bait from ledge to ledge, often the fish will be relating to a drop off of a ledge and the bait will be eaten either as it is falling in front of them or being dragged in the bottom of a ledge. The very best jig and/or creature bait on Lake of the Ozarks is made my Crock-o-Gator Bait Company.

I would also encourage fisherman coming to the lake in March, whether you are an occasional angler or tournament angler, to hire a guide for a half a day or full day. March is a very tricky time of year, especially this year as we have had such severe cold water temperatures. My suggestion is to contact Jack Uxa of Jack’s Guide Service. Jack is a full time guide on the lake, he is the only multi species guide (crappie, bass, catfish, etc.). The Lake of the Ozarks bait and tackle stores are also another great place to find out what the fish are biting on, where to fish for the active fish, ect. My suggestions for bait stores on Lake of the Ozarks are Fitz Fishing, Tackle and Supplies, and Osage Bait and Tackle. Wayne, the owner of Fitz Fishing, is a veteran active tournament fisherman on Lake of the Ozarks and Bill at Osage Bait and Tackle has a great selection of fishing goods and always has an entourage of fishing guides and expert fisherman working at his store.

Finally, for videos, pictures, daily, weekly and monthly fishing reports, check out www.bassingbob.com.


Good fishing everyone.  Please feel free to contact me with questions or send me pics with your fishing report to bob@bassingbob.com.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Liverpool Legends Make Their 6th Annual Stop at The Lake



Once again in 2014, the Grammy Nominated and award-winning Beatles tribute band, Liverpool Legends, will come to the stage at Main Street Music Hall in Osage Beach for two performances, on Friday and Saturday, March 7 & 8, at 8 pm. Branson's Liverpool Legends tribute show, created by Louise Harrison, sister of the late George Harrison, gives audiences the full Beatles experience.
  
video

Louise Harrison has been a part of what she describes as "The Global Family of Beatle People," since her youngest brother came to America with the "Fab Four" in the 1960s. She hand-picked the performers for the Liverpool Legends show both for their striking physical resemblance to the original Beatles and also for their musical expertise.  

These talented artists faithfully recreate performances throughout the Beatles' career, complete with wardrobe changes to represent the different eras of the band's history, and then continue on through the years of band members' solo performances. Vintage video footage of the Beatles serves as a backdrop for the performance and audience members are invited to relive the experience of a live concert by standing near the stage. The result is a widely acclaimed and crowd-pleasing tribute that engages audience members and takes them back in time to the years when the world was watching the Beatles.

Tickets are available from the Tri-County Lodging Association and The Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitor Bureau. Premium seats are $30 for adults and children; regular reserved seating is $25 for adults and $20 for children. The venue will sell out quickly, so it's recommended that tickets be purchased early. For more information, call 800-FUN-LAKE (386-5253) or visit the Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitor Bureau's special event website, www.funlake.com/liverpoollegends. For information on Lake Area lodging, dining, attractions and more, visit www.funlake.com.

Polar Plunge at the Lake Set for Feb. 22, 2014

Only brave souls with warm hearts would be inclined to take a dip in Lake of the Ozarks in February. On February 22, costumed participants will "take the plunge" into the frigid waters of the Lake as part of their commitment to Special Olympics Missouri's year-round program of sports training and competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. 

Festivities at the event include a costume parade before the 2:30 pm plunge, when participants walk, run or crawl into the cold winter waters of the Lake from Public Beach #2 in Lake of the Ozarks State Park. All participants fundraise for the Special Olympics prior to the plunge and prizes are awarded for top fundraisers. These donations help the participating individuals and teams show their pride and dedication to the cause and give them, as one team puts it, "a reason for freezin'." Spectators crowd the shoreline at the event, cheering on their favorite participants and showing their support for the cause. The Polar Plunge is a project of the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Missouri and is proudly hosted by the Osage Beach Police Department. To register yourself or a team to take the plunge, or to donate to your favorite participant, visit the Special Olympics of Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks Polar Plunge page at http://bit.ly/1kA5rm0.

To view a complete series of photos from the 2013 Polar Plunge, check our our Flickr photo set at http://bit.ly/YAGOZ6.


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Lake of the Ozarks Mardi Gras Pub Crawl 2014


Missourians know they don't have to go to Louisiana to celebrate Mardi Gras. Lake of the Ozarks' 13th annual Mardi Gras Pub Crawl will offer great food and live entertainment on Feb. 15, beginning at 4 pm. For just $10, participants get a wristband granting them admission to more than 20 pub crawl restaurants and night spots, all of which feature live entertainment by bands and DJs. The $10 participation fee also includes shuttle transportation. A total of 32 buses will take participants from venue to venue, as well as picking up and dropping off at participating area hotels and motels. Pub crawl organizer Jeff Carroll says it is the Lake's biggest winter event, with more than 6,800 people participating in 2013. See over 60 photos from the 2013 event on our Flickr Page hereFor more information on this year's Pub Crawl, visit www.LakePubCrawl.com

Friday, December 20, 2013

Eagle Days 2014

Dates for the 2014 Lake of the Ozarks Eagle Days event are set for January 4th and 5th. Bundle up in coats, hats and gloves and bring binoculars and cameras for this popular winter event, which features majestic wild eagles.  These awesome creatures nest in the bluffs around the Lake of the Ozarks and Eagle Days provides a great opportunity to see and appreciate their beauty. 


The event includes hourly programs at Osage National Golf Resort, featuring naturalists with eagles from the World Bird Sanctuary in St. Louis. Wild eagle viewing through telescopes provided by the Lake Area Astronomy Club will be at Willmore Lodge each day. Eagle viewing, nest building, rope making and free hot chocolate will be available at the Bagnell Dam River Access.  New for 2014, the Country Club Hotel will host two programs given by Dickerson Park Zoo, featuring owls, hawks and vultures along with interactive exhibits and crafts. The shows will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday and 10:30 a.m. on Sunday rotating every hour.  Eagle Days activities are free, but donations are gladly accepted. To view the entire schedule of Eagle Days activities, visit LakeoftheOzarksEagleDays.com