Celebrate Spring in Madison County

All around us here in Madison County, life is reemerging with the start of spring! From newborn animals and blossoms on trees, to an uptake in tourists, it’s obvious that winter is a thing of the past. There are many ways to enjoy the spring season here in Madison County – a walk or drive through one of our beautiful city or county parks, shopping on our courthouse square, sipping wine or hard apple cider at one of our local wineries or The Winterset Cidery, or enjoying a soft-serve ice cream cone at Frostees, to name just a few. Of course, any visit to Madison County wouldn’t be the same without touring our world-famous covered bridges, or one of our museums (from John Wayne to history to quilting, we’ve got you covered!). While all of these and more are available to you anytime throughout the season, here are a few events you won’t want to miss this spring:

May 13, 4-7 pm: Winterset Wine Walk

Join us for samples of locally-made wines, enjoy shopping specials, prizes and much more at participating businesses around Winterset’s courthouse square. Participants receive a commemorative wine glass at the Madison County Chamber of Commerce. Register early as this is one of our most popular events!

May 25-27: John Wayne Birthday Celebration

The 10th Anniversary John Wayne Birthday Celebration takes place in the Duke’s birthplace of Winterset, and includes many activities for the whole family to enjoy! The guest of honor at this year’s celebration is actor/singer Johnny Crawford, best known as young Mark McCain, Chuck Connors’ son in the hit series The Rifleman. And, of course, he had the honor of being shot dead by John Wayne in Howard Hawks’ El Dorado (1967). Mr. Crawford will perform at this year’s benefit dinner and will be present at various events to share stories and sign autographs. Check this link for new additions to the lineup of activities as they are added, and a full schedule coming soon.

Thursday, May 25th

7:00 pmStagecoach at the Iowa Theater with scheduled film introduction and post-screening discussion with Joseph Malham, author of John Ford: Poet in the Desert. Tickets are available at www.the-iowa.com/john-wayne-weekend/

Friday, May 26th
7:00 pmFort Apache at the Iowa Theater with scheduled film introduction and post-screening discussion with Joseph Malham, author of John Ford: Poet in the Desert. Tickets are available at www.the-iowa.com/john-wayne-weekend/

7:00-11:00 pmAnother enjoyable kickoff to the John Wayne Birthday Celebration will be the Country Barn Dance at the Madison County Fairgrounds. Last year’s wingding was a huge hit and revelers stayed way past closing to enjoy music, dancing and the camaraderie of John Wayne fans from across the country. Come early and admire the horses which will be participating in Saturday’s parade. Admission at the door is $8. Refreshments will be available.

Saturday, May 27th

9:00 amBeginning and ending at the John Wayne Birthplace Museum, the popular 5K Run/Walk benefits Community Resources in Service to People (C.R.I.S.P), the Winterset Rotary Scholarship Fund and the Winterset Skate Park. For registration information, contact Robert Kaldenberg at rakaldenberg@gmail.com or call 515-462-4731.

11:00 am – 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. 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.

Author John Farkis will be signing copies of his latest book, Alamo Village: How a Texas Cattleman Brought Hollywood to the Old West at the John Wayne Birthplace on Saturday, May 27th. Updated from his 2005 edition, Alamo Village has been greatly expanded with detailed information, fascinating insights, interesting interviews and numerous photographs about the important Texas film site.

Sundown (approximately 8:45PM)An outdoor screening of El Dorado on the Courthouse lawn with John Wayne Birthday Celebration headliner Johnny Crawford scheduled to attend.  FREE

Sunday, May 28th
The Grand Re-Opening of The Iowa Theater

The evening will kick off the rebirth of this Winterset landmark and give attendees the chance to be some the first audience members the new Iowa will welcome! Attend a 5:00 pm screening of the Iowa-based classic Field of Dreams and then at 7:00 pm enjoy the reopening party under the tent outside the Iowa on John Wayne Drive, or attend the reopening party at 7:00 pm and then relax for a screening of The Bridges of Madison County at 9:00 pm. Limited tickets available for those who choose to attend the party and both films.  At the party, enjoy heavy hors d’oeuvres and wine, and step on the red carpet for photo!  Your ticket also includes complimentary popcorn to enjoy during your movie. All proceeds from the evening support the Iowa Theater’s year-round efforts as a non-profit organization. More information is available at https://www.the-iowa.com/reopening-party/.


Friday, June 9th, 6-9 pm
Ladies Night Out
Participating merchants around Winterset’s town square host a special evening of shopping and pampering. The first 200 ladies to pre-register for the event receive a swag bag when they arrive at the Madison County Chamber of Commerce’s Welcome Center, and then enjoy an evening of special deals and in-store events, such as wine tasting, food sampling, pampering, and much more.