Denver residents now have a choice of two new direct-flight vacation destinations to and from the Mile High City. Norwegian Air launched flights from Denver International Airport to Paris in April, an event that saw assorted city officials flying to the City of Lights — many of them on high-priced flights rather than the budget airline. Last week, the airline revealed that it will not be offering that route from November 1 until spring, a revelation that did not prevent Denver City Council from considering at $4 million incentive deal for Norwegian.
But at least Denver has a consolation prize: Branson, Missouri, the Paris of southwest Missouri and the Oklahoma/Arkansas tri-state area.
On June 13, the good folks of Branson offered the "Branson wave" as they greeted Frontier's first direct flight from Denver (no Denver airport officials were aboard, perhaps because of criticism over the Paris trip expenses, perhaps because of...Branson). The welcoming committee threw an Ozark Mountain "Tail" Gate party, complete with Branson entertainers, food, games and prizes. “It is an honor to welcome Frontier Airlines and the first customers to BKG,” said Jeff Bourk, executive director of the private Branson Airport. “Without good, affordable air service, people need to work really hard to get here. Frontier Airlines changed that today.”
Paris vs. Branson: How do the two direct-flight vacation options stack up for Denver residents? We've put together some head-to-head match-ups that should help you with your travel plans. Good luck, and wherever you end up, send us a postcard.
5. The Louvre vs. the History of Fishing Museum Yes, the Mona Lisa is at the Louvre. And yes, yes, so are a lot of the paintings and sculptures that you might have seen in that Art History course you were forced to take because blah-blah-blah-Humanities this and yadda-yadda-yadda-well-rounded-education that. And, sure, they made that great Tom Hanks movie about the Louvre, and everyone loves Tom Hanks, right? But can you feed a family on great art? Nope. And is the Louvre easily accessible, with plenty of parking, right next to the Tanger Outlet Mall? Again, non. The History of Fishing Museum isn't just the tenth-best museum in Branson; it's also devoted to the piscine arts, and even the French would agree that fish make good eating — and therefore that fishing is a noble pursuit. Sorry, Venus de Milo and Winged Victory of Samothrace. The History of Fishing Museum has us hooked.
4. Street Mimes vs. Yakov Smirnoff Let’s face it: Neither of these are exciting options. But who's more annoying? On the one hand, you don’t have to pay the Parisian street mimes if you don’t want to. On the other, Yakov Smirnoff (whose show, Make America Laugh Again, is a major Branson attraction) doesn’t accost you on the street and pretend that he’s giving you an imaginary flower.
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Teague Bohlen is a writer, novelist and professor at the University of Colorado Denver. His first novel, The Pull of the Earth, won the Colorado Book Award for Literary Fiction in 2007; his textbook The Snarktastic Guide to College Success came out in 2014. His new collection of flash fiction, Flatland, is available now.