The only thing bigger than the 2,800 scoops of ice cream given away during the recent Free Cone Day by Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop of Branson were the notes sung by local members of Missouri Kids, a division of American Kids, the nation’s only little league of entertainers.
Young performers took the outdoor “stage” between Ben & Jerry’s and Shorty Small’s on the deck of the marina at Branson Landing and entertained the crowds of people either waiting in line for or enjoying their free scoop of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. In the process more than $250 were raised to help the nonprofit purchase a portable sound system for performances at various locations such as retirement homes and other community events.
“Basically, Free Cone Day is our birthday party, but we like to share the presents. The celebration is more than just a chance to get a free scoop. It is also an opportunity to involve the community at large to demonstrate the company’s commitment to giving back,” said Brandon Karn, owner of the Branson Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop. In addition to Missouri Kids, the non-profit Tri-Lakes Humane Society also participated and raised approximately $250 also.
Missouri Kids will again be performing at the Ben & Jerry’s location for Missouri Kids Show Daze on June 11 and July 14 and 16 will feature local young entertainers in 20 minute shows 1-3 p.m. A portion of the proceeds from ice cream sales during the two-hour periods will be donated to American Kids Inc. Plans are in the works for more performances by invitation of Shorty Small’s and Ben & Jerry’s.
A member of the Branson Chamber of Commerce, the 27 year-old American Kids Inc. is the nation’s only ‘little league’ of entertainers celebrating what’s right about America promoting drug-free lifestyles, patriotism and community service. The group’s founder, Dr. Dale Smith, holds a doctorate in administration-education and masters in music education. Young people, ages 3 to high school seniors join American Kids just like adults join a civic club. In the program, they find a peer group all involved in making a difference in the world by using the performing arts as the vehicle. Competition is held on a local to state to national level. Shows range from fairs, festivals and theme parks on a national and international scale to the touring cast of Raising America, a patriotic musical. Members enjoy exposure, growth, character development and opportunity. Because of the experience gained from being on stage, members are better prepared for whatever they choose to do in life. Many members are performing on Broadway and on tour, with Disney and in Branson and Nashville: Kristin Chenoweth, Bryan White, Jarrod Neimann and Blake Shelton are alumni. The group is affiliated with Ed McMahon, Barbara Fairchild, Randy Earhart and Taco Mayo, and Golden Corral.
The first Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop in Branson, Mo., isn’t just any scoop shop. It’s floating over the cool waters of Lake Taneycomo on the Marina at Branson Landing. With 30 fabulous Ben & Jerry’s flavors to choose from, that makes it the largest ice cream float in the world. 7 North Boardwalk, Suite C, Branson, MO 65616 417-339-CONE (2663)