WINTERSET – On May 26, 2007, fans from all over the world gathered in Winterset to celebrate the 100th birthday of the most popular movie star of all time in the heartland town where he was born. The weekend included film screenings, a lavish parade, Wild West show performances, Hollywood celebrities, music and the unveiling of a magnificent bronze statue of the iconic actor, a gift from 30 Wayne family members who were in attendance.
That tradition continues this year with the 10th anniversary John Wayne birthday celebration to be held May 26-27.
It’s impossible to celebrate a screen legend without movies and, following a complete restoration, Winterset’s venerable Iowa Theater will reopen in time to present John Wayne on the big screen where he belongs. Joseph Malham, author of “John Ford: Poet in the Desert,” will introduce such film classics as “Stagecoach,” “Fort Apache” and “El Dorado.”
The internationally famous Wells Fargo stagecoach will be the featured attraction of the returning all-horse parade which will be televised by RFD-TV’s “Best of America on Horseback” starring Tom Seay.
Over the years, John Wayne Birthplace has been visited by many of the actor’s friends and costars including President Ronald Reagan and film legend Maureen O’Hara. This year’s headliner is singer/actor Johnny Crawford who starred as Chuck Connors’ son in the television series “The Rifleman” and appeared with Wayne in “El Dorado.” He will perform and sign autographs at the annual benefit dinner and auction.
For a schedule of these and other events, including tours of the John Wayne Birthplace and Museum, winner of the 2016 Iowa Tourism Outstanding Attraction Award, visit www.johnwaynebirthplace.museum or call 515-462-1044.