Branson's Tour Guide

Kringles Christmas Store and Mel's Hard Luck Diner (Branson, MO)

While Branson, MO is known as the the “Live Music Show Capital of the World”, we are also home to many unique stores, boutiques and shops. None are more fun to visit than Kringles Christmas Stores and VillageTreasures

Kringles is located inside the Grand Village on the famed Highway 76 Strip, Kringles showcases the magic of Christmas all year long.

Christmas in Branson
Kringles Christmas Stores and Village Treasures tops many lists as a premiere Christmas themed shopping destination in the Midwest. With 9,000 square feet of Christmas d├ęcor and collectibles, visitors can easily spend hours looking at room after room of all things Christmas.

Their themed Christmas trees are decorated for those with a variety of interests. Whether you or your loved one enjoys playing a musical instrument, works in the health care field, likes to hunt & fish, has a favorite pet etc. etc. etc. – there's a tree for you. The variety is absolutely incredible!

One recent customer (Linda Nooner) said, “This store is such a delightful place to shop! Everytime I'm in Branson I always find something special there! The people working there are so nice and Santa was indeed jolly! It was a special treat to meet Ann Dezendorf (Possible Dreams) and for her to sign my new santa.”

Kringles features a wide variety of brands including Clothtique Possible Dreams Santas, Christopher Radko, Mark Roberts Fairies, Disney, Jim Shore and many others. Visitors also find many works by local artists as well, and can even have many of their purchases personalized.

Owner, Mel Bilbo says, “There are so many stories to be told. ...stories behind just about everything in the store.” After walking around the store for only a few minutes it is easy to see that Mr. Bilbo is right. Kringles offers everything from today's top Christmas designs to tradition pieces that are so familiar to us all, and everything has a tale to be told!

The Fontanini collection of Italian nativities has a story that dates back to the late 1800s. This generations old company was started by Emanuele Fontanini, who exported figurines to European capitals in 1893. 
Emanuele Fontanini
Then in 1908, Emanuele opened a humble craft workshop in Bagni di Lucca (a comune of Tuscany, Italy) where he and his workers began to perfect their art and craftsmanship. 

This is where they began to specialize in creating the artistic variations of the Biblical nativity that we find at Kringles today.

Over the next many years Emanuele's sons Mario and Aldo began to export their nativity scenes around the globe, including here to the United States. In 1963, Ugo, Piero and Mariano, Mario's sons led the company to yet another plateau as they began to utilize the craft of injection molding.

Since the 1970s, Fontanini figures have been available throughout the world via a single licensed distributor Roman Inc.. There are many imitations, so be sure to seek out only authentically licensed pieces such as those showcased at Kringles Christmas Stores and Village Treasures.

Today, another Emanuele Fontanini sits atop the Fontanini family dynasty.  This fourth generation Emanuele travels around the world making sure that his family's heritage of producing and distributing heirloom quality figurines remains safely in tact.

For many years Emanuele has visited Kringles Christmas Stores and Village Treasures in Branson, MO each November. While in Branson, he signs the Christmas pieces that bare his families name and chats with those who gather for the occasion.

Emanuele enjoys hearing the stories of how Fontanini pieces are passed down from one generation to the next. He seems to especially delight in hearing stories of how someone (often a child), dropped a generational piece to the rest of the families horror, only to find that the piece was unharmed.

Therein lies one of the biggest surprises of all. These nativity figures are made of a nearly indestructible and child-friendly polymer resin. Although they are crafted with great attention to detail, these lifelike sculptures with meticulous painting are made to last generations.

Mel's Hard Luck Diner
After his appearance at Kringles, Emanuele walks across the way to enjoy an authentic American meal at Mel's Hard Luck Diner. Mel's is home to Branson's original “Singing Servers” and no visit to Branson is complete without a stop at this 1950s themed diner. 
Mel's has long been a favorite destination of Branson visitors looking for a great mix of food and fun.

When speaking of Mel's, one customer (Jason Owings) said, “Simply amazing! The food the atmosphere and the overall theme or spot-on! The burger and fries and shake or exactly what one would expect and everything was over the top. The servers were more than fantastic and personable...the singing was off the chain. We are going back there every time we go to Branson.”

So, the next time you visit Branson, be sure to make enough time to visit Kringles Christmas Stores and Village Treasures and enjoy a meal at Mel's Hard Luck Diner. Both are located at the the main entrance of the Grand Village and access is quite easy.

If budget is a concern when planning your time in Branson, be sure to click here to learn how to save money and receive many other benefits.

Emanuele Fontanini's 2018 visit is on November 24th. We will announce details of  his 2019 visit when we have more information.

To learn more, here are a few online resources:

Kringles Website -
Phone (417)337-5426

Kringles Facebook Page – Click Here

Mel's Facebook Page - Click Here
Phone (417)332-0150 

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