Happy Birthday, John Wayne!

The small town of Winterset could be a poster town for America’s heartland. Located in Iowa just a few minutes’ drive from Des Moines, Winterset has two claims to fame. It is the birthplace of Marriott Robert Morrison, whom we all know as John Wayne. It is also the county seat of Madison County, home of the covered bridges made famous by the movie starring Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep.

John Wayne was born on May 26, 1907, and every year the town celebrates his birthday on Memorial Day weekend. Each year has a theme, and usually a special guest, such as a family descendent. This year’s theme celebrated the 50th anniversary of the movie “True Grit,” which earned John Wayne his only Oscar. The special guest was a man who was often his stunt double.

Festivities center around his restored childhood home and the adjacent John Wayne Museum. A block away is the county courthouse, similarly decked out in its holiday best. So on Memorial weekend Saturday, Ben and Cate took us down to take in the festivities. Here is a glimpse of what we saw.

A couple more pictures of Ben and Cate are also posted in the Bryan family album elsewhere on the site.