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Madison County Bridge Festival in Winterset Celebrates 50 Years

Madison County Bridges

October 7, 2019

The Madison County Covered Bridge Festival, a historic festival located in Winterset, Iowa, is celebrating its 50th anniversary Oct. 12 – 13, 2019. The Festival started in 1970 and was established to help celebrate the covered bridges which have made the area famous. This year’s festival theme, “Through the Lens,” guided planning and served as the focus for several special activities to celebrate 50 years of festival fun. Here’s what’s in store for this year’s event:

Photography Contest

In keeping with the theme of "50 Years: Through the Lens,” local photographers have submitted pieces to help celebrate the beauty of the area. The winning submissions will be on display all weekend at the Winterset American Legion Hall.

Covered Bridge Festival Documentary

Free with admission to the Festival, attendees can watch a special documentary movie about Festival history, which will be shown throughout the weekend at The Iowa Theater, Winterset’s historic classic movie house. This movie includes interviews with some of the very first festival organizers, as well as many old photos and stories from years gone by.

Memorabilia Display

Stop out at the Madison County Historical Museum to peruse their treasure trove of old photos and memorabilia display related to the first days of the festival.

Remembering Our Fallen Exhibit

This traveling photographic war memorial honors the sacrifice made by 115 Iowans in the military who were killed during The War on Terror in a war zone. The photo memorial includes military and personal photos of each person and will be on display at the American Legion Hall all weekend.

Oklahoma! Performance

Winterset’s famous Apple Tree Players presented Oklahoma during the very first Covered Bridge Festival weekend in 1970. To celebrate 50 years of the arts in Madison County, The Winterset Stage is reviving this classic by singing a medley of songs from the famous musical.

Cedar Bridge Re-Dedication and Ribbon Cutting

Cedar Bridge, the covered bridge made famous in Robert Waller’s novel, The Bridges of Madison County, and by a visit from Oprah, was lost to arson in 2017. After months of hard work to rebuild this bridge north of Winterset, the bridge is finally back to its former glory and will be rededicated at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 12. The event will include a short presentation, light appetizers and drinks. All are invited to attend.

Please join us in Madison County to celebrate 50 years of this very special community event!

Read more Chamber of Commerce news at DSMpartnership.com/blog.

Heather Riley

Heather Riley is a 1992 graduate of the University of Missouri with a BA degree in German and a 1993 graduate of Iowa State University with a BBA in Finance. Heather is a member of the 2010 Class of the Des Moines Business Record's "Forty Under 40" and a graduate of the Madison County Leadership Institute.