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News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by Lindsay A. Baessler   
Sunday, 09 September 2012 12:44

On October 13th & 14th, 2012 the 43rd Anniversary of the Madison County Covered Bridge Festival will be celebrated in Winterset, Iowa, with the theme being “The Stories of Madison County!” 

To quote the first Festival brochure (1970): “The Festival will take place in Winterset, Iowa, during the season when the wooded hills are ablaze with color! Designed to give visitors a glimpse of life in Madison County before the turn of the 20thcentury, the setting of the Festival and the bridges throughout the county are an artist’s paradise and a camera bug’s heaven!”

What was true forty-three years ago, in 1970, is still true today! Our six 130+year-old covered bridges are one of the main attractions and centerpieces of the Covered Bridge Festival. Guided bus-tours sponsored by the Winterset Rotarians are offered throughout the weekend, with stops at a few of the bridges. Many Tour Directors bring groups to Madison County all year-long to experience a “Storybook Tour”, which is packed full of history lessons about the making of the movie “Bridges of Madison County”, filmed in 1994. You will also find live demonstrations featuring the following sheep shearing; glass jewelry making, woodcarving, as well as a cannon demonstration, pony rides and competitions such as an “Old Fashioned Spelling Bee” at the Festival. Along with wonderful artisan booths, local storytellers embody famous persons who relate tales of early Iowa history --like George Washington Carver and ‘Uncle’ Henry Wallace, two well-known men who each called Winterset ‘home’, Scavenger hunts and other old-fashioned games, Other activities not to be missed will include penny candy sales, a civil war battle, horse ferrier and live chainsaw carving demos and horse-drawn wagon rides – all taking place Saturday only at the Madison County Historical Complex.

A collectable coin is struck each year commemorating a local historic structure -- this year the McBride Bridge is featured in a commemorative fashion, as the McBride Bridge was regrettably burnt down in 1983.

The two-day festival hours are 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, October 13th & 14th, 2012. There will be a festival grounds admission fee of $2 each day (children 11 & under being free). Parking is free with shuttle services to outlying lots and various other Festival venues.                                                                               

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