Report from the John Wayne festival now posted on the Ben Johnson page. http://benjohsonfanpage.shutterfly.com/festivals
Aissa Wayne and Maureen O'Hara symbolically breaking ground for the new museum which actually should start construction in the fall.
Birthplace president Joe Zuckschwerdt, Aissa Wayne, Maureen O'Hara and Birthplace Executive Director Brian Downes. See the guy in the back with the sunglasses and black cowboy hat? His name is Jim and he knew Ben Johnson a bit. I'm hoping to do an interview with him in the future.
Aissa Wayne talking to a guy whose name IS (he says) John T. Wayne. He's written a series of western-themed novels, the "Gaslight Boys" series. Look up John T. Wayne and "Gaslight Boys" on Amazon -- you'll find the books there. I talked to him for a while and he does look amazingly like John Wayne, including the very very blue eyes.
Main square, Winterset, with courthouse dome.
The Quiet Man poster at the Iowa Theater. Saw Rio Grande and The Wings of Eagles there, and about 1/2 hour of The Quiet Man. The Quiet Man was packed -- completely full. Everyone was utterly rapt. They were LOVING it.
The John Wayne Birthplace.
This is the Friday night Western swing dance. Maureen came with her family -- that's her grandson Conor in the cowboy hat on the right -- and she sat for individual photos with a long line of adoring fans. Afterwards she left, but then...
Conor came back with his family and he danced with daughter Baylee. I used to dance like that with my feet on daddy's feet. :) You can't see it in this photo (but you can in other photos I posted on my page) but Conor's wife Elga is taking photos of this. Soooo cute!
Pancake breakfast at the Winterset firehouse. Yum!
The Iowa Theater
Glenn Frankel, author of The Searchers: Making of an American Legend. (Make sure you read April's interview with him at directedbyjohnford.com.) This is right before he signed my copy. :)
The Saturday night benefit gala dinner. 800 people -- sold out! It was crowded. When they wheeled in Maureen in her chair, everyone jumped their feet and gave her a huge standing ovation. ;)
I managed to snap this picture of her. Most of the time all I could see was her hair. :)
The Shannon Rovers Irish Pipe Band. The Birthplace staff scheduled lots of superb entertainment -- an Irish-American soprano who sang songs from The Quiet Man (and "I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen" from Rio Grande), the bagpipers, and two young ladies who did Irish dance with the bagpipers. You could tell they were thrilled to death to be dancing for the one and only Maureen O'Hara.
Well, there's a lot more so please go to the webpage, http://benjohnsonfanpage.shutterfly.com/festivals
and read the story (a bit more than what's here) and also look at the photos. I've put comments on quite a few of the individual photos so despite the fact that I'll never win an award for photography you might want to click through them all quickly looking for the ones with comments.