John Wayne Day: Everything You Need to Know About the ‘Good Ol’ Fashion Western’ Celebration

by Evan Reier

The Duke’s birthday is just around the corner, and the folks at the “John Wayne: An American Experience” exhibit are getting ready.

The legendary cinema cowboy would have been 114 years old in 2021. While we’re now nearly 42 years gone without him, you can bet your spurs that John Wayne would want people celebrating still today.

To each their own, but perhaps the best way would be a trip down to Fort Worth, Texas. That’s where the “American Experience” exhibit resides. If you’re unfamiliar, the exhibit features 10,000 square feet of nothing but the Duke. From the childhood of John Wayne to his storied acting career, it’s all there.

On May 13, the official account of the John Wayne estate started getting fans excited for his May 26 birthday.

“Join us for a day full of good ol’ fashion western fun celebrating the Duke’s birthday!” the account wrote. “From 12-6pm, we will have live music, food, western games, and more in front of John Wayne: An American Experience. In addition, we also have special events free and open to the public. Head to for more info!”

I’ll go ahead and save your expectations and say that, at the time of writing, there is no additional info about the day itself on the site or on the Fort Worth Stockyards website. However, it doesn’t seem like we need much selling.

In addition to being able to tour the exhibit, the array of activities going on around the building sounds like a great day out. After an especially cooped-up year or so, it sounds like a perfect occasion to enjoy some sense of normalcy.

Details on ‘John Wayne: An American Experience’

With over 170 films under his belt and 51 years in showbusiness, the career and life of John Wayne features too many details to count. Despite being known for his gruff, reserved approach on life, being an international film star means that much of his journey is documented.

Which is fantastic, especially in the days of 2021. Preservation of history, especially for an American icon like the Duke, should always be something to strive for. That’s exactly what the “American Experience” exhibit does.

Per the site, the exhibit is cultivated by the people that knew John Wayne best.

“All patrons will have exclusive access to never-before-seen family photos and correspondences which have been thoughtfully curated by the Wayne family in order to give guests a holistic view of the icon, whose values translate both on the silver screen and off.”

We could definitely saddle up for that. Additionally, the exhibit features John Wayne reading Grammy-nominated poems about America and a huge gift shop and lounge any fan would love.