The Return of the Iowa Theater

When Winterset’s venerable Iowa Theater closed without notice in May of 2015 it seemed the end of an era. For nearly a century the vintage movie house had offered the finest in Hollywood entertainment including John Wayne’s most classic films. Thanks to preservationists Marianne and Rebecca Fons, the theater will return to life in time for the 10th Anniversary John Wayne Birthday Celebration (May 26 & 27) when it will present Stagecoach, Fort Apache and El Dorado on the big screen where John Wayne belongs. Discussing the films will be Joseph Malham, author of John Ford: Poet in the Desert. Tickets can now be ordered online at https://www.the-iowa.com/john-wayne-weekend/.

The Return of the Wells Fargo Stagecoach

The 10th Anniversary John Wayne Birthday Celebration proudly welcomes back the world-renowned Wells Fargo Stagecoach. This crowd pleaser will be a featured attraction of the all-horse parade which will wind through the streets of historic Winterset, Iowa on Saturday, May 27th. Nothing symbolizes the Old West better than the overland stage, especially since John Wayne rode to movie stardom in the 1939 film classic Stagecoach. The parade will also include riders and rolling stock from throughout the Midwest and interested participants may contact Frank Santana for details (520) 241-6442.

Johnny Crawford to Headline 10th Anniversary John Wayne Birthday Celebration

Actor/singer Johnny Crawford has been a welcome guest in millions of American homes ever since 1955 when he was featured as one of Walt Disney’s original Mouseketeers. Best known as young Mark McCain, Chuck Connors’ son in the hit series The Rifleman, Crawford appeared regularly in such television classics as The Lone Ranger, Wagon Train, Zane Grey Theater, The Donna Reed Show, Hawaii Five-O and Murder She Wrote. And, of course, he had the honor of being shot dead by John Wayne in Howard Hawks’ El Dorado (1967).

Mr. Crawford has also enjoyed a successful musical career, first as a Billboard Top-40 teen pop star and, since 1992, as the leader of the Johnny Crawford Dance Orchestra featuring classic American music from the 1920s and 1930s by such hit makers as Duke Ellington, Cole Porter and Cab Calloway.

We could not be more pleased to announce that Mr. Crawford will be our guest of honor at our 10th Anniversary John Wayne Birthday Celebration where he’ll perform at our benefit dinner on May 27th and share Hollywood stories and sign autographs at events to be announced.

Welcome, Johnny, Crawford!

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John Wayne Birthplace & Museum Wins Outstanding Attraction at 2016 Iowa Tourism Conference

Congratulations to the John Wayne Birthplace & Museum on the tourism award they brought home last week. The Iowa Tourism Office and the Travel Federation of Iowa presented 27 awards recognizing excellence in the tourism industry at a ceremony in Davenport during the 2016 Iowa Tourism Conference, and the John Wayne Birthplace & Museum won “Outstanding Attraction.”

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Brian Downes accepted the award on behalf of the John Wayne Birthplace & Museum. Photo by Teddi Yaeger, Madison County Tourism Director.

Click to see a full list of 2016 Iowa Tourism Award recipients.