50th Madison County Covered Bridge Festival This Weekend

WINTERSET, Iowa — This year marks the 50th year of the Madison County Covered Bridge Festival.

“For 50th, we’ve done a documentary so people might want to take in the Iowa Theater and watch a documentary. It’s 45 minutes long, all about 50 years of the covered bridge,” said Heather Riley, director of the Winterset Chamber of Commerce.

This year will also see a ribbon cutting on the newly rebuilt Cedar Bridge. The structure was burned in an arson fire in 2017, for the second time.

“I would say the day after Cedar Bridge burned, we got together with some community leaders to decide if we want the Cedar Bridge back,” said Riley. “We took donations from a dollar to $10. We have tens of thousands of dollars in donations, and the state of Iowa is very generous, so now we have Cedar Bridge back and we’re going to celebrate that this weekend.”

The weekend will also see a new exhibit open at the Iowa Quilt Museum.

“We just opened this exhibit called a Fons and Porter Homecoming. It honors the quilting duo Mary Ann Fons and Liz Porter,” said Megan Barrett, director of the Iowa Quilt Museum. “They’re a legend in the quilting industry and they started everything here in little old Winterset."

Events will take place on the town square. The weekend will see tractor rides, with some 50 tractors leaving Friday and Saturday morning from the Madison County Fairgrounds. The ride goes on even in cold weather.

“That’s why the turnout is pretty good this year because harvest is delayed because of the rain,” said Curtis Saveraid, organizer of the rides. “My dad started this 18 years ago. He passed away right before the tenth year. We just kept doing it with my family and I.“

For more information on the Covered Bridge Festival, click here.

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