Homosexual event at Silver Dollar City an apparent hoax perpetrated by activists
By Allen Palmeri
August 17, 2004
BRANSON – A homosexual group has invited “thousands of homosexuals” to participate in a special event at Silver Dollar City theme park over Labor Day weekend, but park officials say no tickets have been sold and reports now say the whole thing is likely a hoax instigated by a lone homosexual activist.
Lisa Rau, spokeswoman for Silver Dollar City, said that tickets for a two-day convention rate for the Guardian Group, a local homosexual organization that consists of three men putting out a newsletter, have yet to be sold as of Aug. 13 pending verification of the group’s basic information. It was first learned that the group may be visiting Branson when a story ran in the Branson Daily News promoting thousands of gays and lesbians from all over the Midwest attending “A Gay Weekend at Silver Dollar City.” However, discount tickets to get inside the park are lacking, Rau said.
“We did not seek out the event,” Rau said. “We did not solicit the event. We are not hosting the event, and at this point, we’re unable to verify the validity of the event. We’re not even sure there is an event. No tickets have been purchased.”
However, The Springfield News-Leader, in a front-page story Aug. 11, reported that Silver Dollar City is the victim of a hoax perpetrated by Ron Mangum, a homosexual activist with a history of making discrimination complaints in other states. Mangum goes by six other names — Kuntry Ron, Ron Waters, Carl Waters, John Waters, Ron Marcus and Psychic Ron. Linda Leicht, a News-Leader reporter who has sources within Springfield’s homosexual community, told The Pathway that thousands of homosexuals would not be descending on Silver Dollar City, but that the number would more than likely be just two—Mangum and his homosexual partner.
Rau said Silver Dollar City cannot discriminate against people like Mangum if he wants to buy tickets. However, Rau said the theme park can clearly state a code of conduct that will be enforced by security guards. Silver Dollar City’s core values are practiced “in a manner consistent with Christian values and ethics,” Rau said. Mangum and his partner will come under the jurisdiction of those core values Labor Day weekend if they choose to purchase tickets to come on the grounds, she said.
“We do have guidelines that are consistent with our core values and our mission statement,” Rau said, mentioning that one of those guidelines would be that all Silver Dollar City patrons wear proper attire. That would rule out the possibility of effeminate men parading around the park in dresses, she said.
Peter Herschend, vice chairman, Herschend Family Entertainment, was in the news this summer as a leader in the fight to defeat an amendment to the Missouri Constitution that would have authorized casino gambling in Rockaway Beach, which is about 10 miles from Branson. Herschend, an Assembly of God church member, was also vocal in his support for a Missouri constitutional amendment affirming traditional marriage.