Weekend in Winterset, John Wayne Style

Okay, here we go! This is the big John Wayne Birthday Celebration weekend, and you’ve probably seen the schedule of events in a few places, but I’ll share it again here because that’s what I do. And, I’ll add some details that Brian Downes and Wayne Davis have shared in the last few days. If you keep your eyes open this weekend as you’re out and about, there’s a good chance of a celebrity sighting!

First, there are several events that will be repeated at various times over the weekend, so you can find a time that works in your schedule:

  • Tours of the John Wayne Birthplace are always available seven days a week, but they will offer

     extended hours this weekend of 9:00 to 5:00 on Friday, 9:00 to 5:00 on Saturday, and 10:00 to 4:30 on Sunday. I’ll believe they’ll be back to their regular hours of 10:00 to 4:30 on Monday as well, if you happen to have guests here for Memorial Day. The tours depart from the Welcome Center next to the Birthplace.

  • The John Wayne movieThe Searcherswill have free showings on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 10:00 at the Iowa Theater. This is the one that featured Lana Wood, one of our special guests this weekend, as the younger Debbie Edwards. It is also regarded as one of John Wayne’s finest performances, and one the best western movies of all time. New York Times best-selling author Glenn Frankel, who wrote “The Searchers: The Making of an American Legend,” will be at the theater to introduce this movie at 10:00 on Saturday and Sunday.
  • There will be free showings of the movieStagecoachat 1:00 at the Iowa Theater on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and… 
  • Free showings ofThe Man Who Shot Liberty Valanceat 4:00 on all three days as well, again at the Iowa Theater. 
  • You can see Cowboy Mounted Shooters, an equestrian sport in which riders compete in a fast action timed event using .45 caliber single action revolvers loaded with special blank ammunition, at 1:00 on Saturday and 10:00 on Sunday at the Madison County Fairgrounds. For a glimpse of what this activity looks like, click here. I think the kids would love it!
Tours depart from the Welcome Center, next to the Birthplace at 216 S. 2nd Street

In addition to all this, there are two special
events happening only on Friday evening. At 6:00 pm on Friday there’s the John Wayne Birthday Celebration Rodeo at the Madison County Fairgrounds, followed by a Western Swing Dance at 9:00. The rodeo is not the kind you may think of with fireworks and rock music. Instead, this is Ranch Rodeo, the kind that used to happen on the ranch where rodeo was born. For example, there are events such as “wild cow milking,” which is done with a beer bottle: Whoever gets the most milk in the bottle is the winner. “This is more traditional, the roots of rodeo,” explained Brian Downes. “It’s pretty rough and tumble!” The Western Swing Dance at 9:00 will feature music by Les Gilliam and his Silver Lake Band, back by popular demand. Tickets to each event are available at the gate at the Fairgrounds, for $15.00 each, or $25.00 for a ticket to both events. Word has it there will be another musical guest at the Western Swing Dance too…. more on that in a moment!

Saturday is a big day, starting with the Fireman’s Pancake Breakfast at the fire station from 7:00 to 11:00. They’ll stuff you full of pancakes, eggs, sausage, coffee, milk and juice, all for just $6.00. After that, you’ll have energy for all of the following:

  • At 9:00, the John Wayne Birthplace 5K Run/Walk departs from the Birthplace lot at 216 S. 2nd Street. Registration is between 7:30 and 8:45. For more information, look here or visit with resident runner Bob Kaldenberg.
  • The Madison County Chamber has a number of very knowledgeable tour guides, and they are offering guided tours of the Covered Bridges at 10:00 and 2:00 on Saturday. 
  • The Chamber is also hosting a great event on the square in Winterset from 12:30 to 3:30 on Saturday, or whenever the pie runs out. “Pie Squared” beckons you to come inside the businesses on the square to sample slices of homemade pie made by the talented bakers in our Madison County churches, for a freewill donation that will benefit the churches and the Chamber. Pancakes for breakfast and pie for lunch — sounds good to me! And while you’re uptown, check out all the great John Wayne merchandise and memorabilia on the square, such as these goodies at Madison County Mercantile:

  • At 1:00 pm on Saturday at the Historical Complex there will be a book symposium at which four authors will be present and available for questions about their works. Scott Eyman will discuss his New York Times Bestseller, John Wayne: The Life and Legend. Birthplace director Brian Downes believes that this book is “the finest book on John Wayne,” and he’s read them all. “It shows a human side of him that a lot of people weren’t aware of,” he said. Glenn Frankel will present his book The Searchers: The Making of an American Legend, which presents the history and true back story behind the critically acclaimed movie “The Searchers.” Aissa Wayne, who wrote John Wayne: My Father will also be there, as well as Lana Wood, author of Natalie: A Memoir by Her Sister, and child actor in “The Searchers.” 
  • At 5:00 p.m. on Saturday evening, doors will open for the big event at the Madison County Historical Complex: the John Wayne Birthplace Museum Benefit Dinner, 2014. Social hour will be followed by a dinner of beef brisket, cheesy potatoes, baked beans, tossed salad, dessert and beverages. Special guests will include actress Lana Wood, who will speak at the event, John Wayne’s daughter Aissa Wayne, who will host the auction, and John Wayne’s granddaughter Jennifer Wayne (of recent Amazing Race fame) and her singing partner Kaley Caperton, accompanied by guitarist Jason Fletcher. Tickets for this event are recommended in advance, and can be purchased right here or at the museum.
Jennifer Wayne, pictured here at right with her partner Caroline Cutbirth on
The Amazing Race, will perform on Friday night at the Western Swing Dance
with Kaley Caperton and Jason Fletcher. She will also perform at the Saturday
benefit dinner and can be seen afterward at the Little Dublin Irish Pub. 
Finally, don’t forget that this is also the last weekend for “Always… Patsy Cline” at The Winterset Stage, a show that fits right in with the Western theme of the weekend. Katelyn Renze as Patsy Cline sings at least 27 of her songs in this show that has been a fantastic opener for the first Main Stage season at the new theater. Tickets to the show are available here. The final two performances are Friday and Saturday night at 7:00.
We will miss you, Patsy!
A big welcome to Lana Wood (pictured), Aissa and Jennifer Wayne, Scott Eyman, Glenn Frankel, Les Gilliam,
and all the special guests who are coming to Winterset this weekend to add to our celebration.
Thank you also to the weather, for looking like this through Saturday, at least. And finally, thanks for reading The Winterset Citizen. There will be more about local Memorial Day events in an upcoming post. Please subscribe by e-mail right here and don’t miss it. It’s free! 
Print Friendly, PDF & Email