John Wayne turns 100 on May 26 and there’s a celebration. Of course you know John Wayne is dead, but that’s no excuse to not have a party. In Winterset, Iowa where he was born, the town has a slew of cowboy type stuff to do over the weekend, May 25-27 at the John Wayne Birthday Centennial Celebration. Michael Martin Murphy, the singing cowboy poet is performing. So is the group Ghost Riders. Besides that, there’s a parade, The John Wayne Birthday Wild West Revue, a chuck wagon supper and free John Wayne movies on a big screen somewhere. Along with the festivities, John Wayne’s 4-room house is a museum that is open year round. It’s been restored to look like it did when he lived there and has loads of memorabilia. To buy your own John Wayne stuff, stop in the Birthplace Shop.
If you’ve never gone to a small town American festival, this one looks like a good one. I’m quite fond of events where the town comes out for a good time and everyone seems to know everyone. For example, if you go to one of the parades, people in the parade know all the people watching the parade.
By the way, Winterset just happens to be in Madison County where the book and movie Bridges of Madison County takes place. Just another reason to go there. Here’s a link to the covered bridges and movie site map. Now that I’ve found out about this, perhaps I’m just going to have to swing through the next time I go through Iowa, and I do drive through Iowa.