38th annual Bell Tower Festival under way


Terry Ric

The 38th annual Bell Tower Festival opened Friday evening in Jefferson, with Terry Rich, 1970 Jefferson High School graduate and now president and CEO of the Iowa Lottery, receiving the Bell Tower of Fame Award.

The festival’s opening ceremony began with Wendy Vander Linden playing the National Anthem on the Mahanay Memorial Carillon. Greene County Chamber and Tourism president Mike Holden was emcee, and festival steering committee chair Emily Neese spoke briefly.

Carole Custer presented the Bell Tower of Fame Award. She noted Rich’s Greene County roots and his work for the Blank Park Zoo and the Iowa Lottery. He is an entrepreneur and author, having published “Dare to Dream, Dare to Act” two years ago.

She shared congratulatory notes from Gov Kim Reynolds, who called Rich “an incredible leader in state government,” and said his “commitment to Iowans in truly inspiring.”
U.S ambassador to China and former Iowa governor Terry Branstad wrote that Rich is “a true Iowa legend, a promoter of all that is good about Iowa.”

As he accepted the award, Rich said “encouragement” is the word that best represents Greene County. He mentioned Greene County residents who have encouraged him over the years, including Carole Custer, Bill and Donna Sutton, classmates, his parents, his sister and his wife Kim and children.

He closing comment is that “happiness happens on the way to success.” “If you’re not happy today you won’t be happy tomorrow when that next thing you want to do gets done,” he said.

Also at the ceremony Arlene Robbins and Dwight Lehman were introduced as queen and king of long term care at Greene County Medical Center, and JoAnn Hall and Bud Healy were introduced as queen and king of Regency Park Nursing and Rehab Center.

Emily Neese

Sponsors of the Bell Tower Festival are A & W Family Restaurant, Bolton & Menk, Deal’s Orchard, Fareway, Greene County Medical Center, the Greene County board of supervisors, Home State Bank, Hy-Vee and Jefferson Telecom.

Committee member include Clay Ross, Jim Wasson, Joyce Rasmussen, Aaron Harn, Jill Johnson, Vicky Lautner, Loren Turner, Jan Clouse, Becky Greiner, Ann Ostendorf, the Greene County Chamber & Tourism board and Chamber staff members Sheilah Pound and Michael Reese.

The opening ceremony was followed by rock and roll performed by four generations of Jefferson musicians. Dave Williamson, a member of the Bushman, a 1964-66 band that will be inducted into the Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in September, played guitar and sang lead. Tony Kendall played guitar, Miranda Muzney Sebourn sang harmony, Parker Willis played bass and Hank Muzney Sr played drums.

(from left) Tony Kendall, Miranda Muzney Sebourn, Hank Muzney Sr, Parker Willis, Dave Williamson

The Bell Tower Festival continues Saturday on the downtown square in Jefferson. There are free inflatables for kids’ play, free entertainment, a Christian rock tour, vendors, a car show, and more. Saturday’s entertainment at the beverage garden is Arch Allies.

Playing on the inflatables is free with Greene County Chamber & Tourism sponsorship
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