Celebrating 40 Years of the John Wayne Birthplace

2023 John Wayne Birthday Celebration:
A Salute to the Armed Forces

*Please note: Banquet reservations are non-refundable.

If John Wayne is best known for his Westerns, his war movies are a close second. Wayne played a range of military roles over the course of his career, depicting nearly every branch of the service, and earned his first Academy Award nomination playing Marine Sergeant John Stryker in “Sands of Iwo Jima” (1949).

More significant than any screen performance, though, was Wayne’s real-life commitment to the brave men and women of America’ armed forces. The actor participated in United Service Organization tours during both World War II and the Vietnam War performing and meeting with soldiers overseas.

In honor of that devotion and support, the theme of this year’s John Wayne Birthday Celebration (May 26 & 27) will be A Salute to the Armed Forces. While much is still in the planning stages we can confirm that “Sands of Iwo Jima”, “In Harm’s Way” and “The Green Berets” will be presented at the Iowa Theater and guests at our Benefit Dinner & Auction will enjoy a live Big Band orchestra featuring classic favorites from the 1940s. Also planned is a fly-in breakfast of vintage military aircraft at the Winterset Municipal Airport and an encampment of World War II and Vietnam era reenactors at the John Wayne Birthplace. Further details to be announced.

We hope you’ll make plans to join us for what promises to be a unique and memorable event.

Musical Headliner

Guests at this year’s John Wayne Birthplace Benefit Dinner & Auction are in for a special treat.  Dave Rezek leads the Des Moines Big Band, a storied ensemble that dates back nearly 70 years. The 16-piece orchestra will perform a concert of classic and contemporary jazz, many selections dating back to to the 1940s.