Our nighttime-colored lights are an enhancement to the original white lights. The tower will feature random colored lights every Friday and Saturday. Additionally throughout the year, Holiday lighting will be displayed with appropriate colored lights.
The dedication of the Mahanay Bell Tower took place 57 years ago on October 16, 1966, and each year it is a time to celebrate. This year, the Tower will be open from 10 am – 2 pm with free admission for all.
The Foundation would like to particularly invite local employers to send their employees over the lunch break to experience the Tower. More than 50% of the visitors are from out of town and many locals haven’t heard the story, listened to the bells, and seen the rooftop art and spectacular view from the Paul Nally Observation Deck. The Mahanay Bell Tower was named the 2021 Rural Iowa Attraction of the Year.
A Tower Tunes Live Birthday Concert will be played on Monday, Oct. 16, from 12:15 – 12:30 pm. A local Mahanay Maestro will perform favorite music on the carillon for the community to enjoy.
Visitors and residents are asked to celebrate by posting pictures with the Tower in the background. #HBD1966 and #experiencejefferson are two hashtags that could be used.
The Mahanay Bell Tower has transitioned to October regular hours of Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm. In 2023, youth age 18 and younger can tour the Tower at no charge courtesy of the Victor Zike Trust and Rosalene (Kay) Zike Trust. Adult admission is $5.
Visitors may also schedule an appointment by calling the Jefferson Matters office at 515-386-2155.
The Mahanay Memorial Carillon Tower is now open daily to the public. The Tower staff welcomes visitors from 10 am – 4 pm daily now through the end of September and then weekends in October. It is also available at other times by appointment by calling The Welcome Center at 515-386-2155.
Stay for the bells. The 47 bells (four octaves) plays the Westminster Chimes each quarter hour from 8 am – 8 pm daily. Two songs are also played about eight minutes after each hour. Tower Tunes Live Concerts are played live by Mahanay Maestros each Wednesday from 12:15 – 12:30 pm and other times as scheduled.
Come for the view. The tour includes information about the Mahanays and the Tower. An elevator takes visitors 120 ft. up to the glass enclosed Paul Nally Observation Deck. From there, the view is spectacular with rooftop art installations, alley projects and a view of downtown Jefferson and the surrounding countryside. Four new Ring Out for Art sculptures are located on the plaza.
The Mahanay Tower is free to youth 18 and under courtesy of our 2023 sponsor, the Victor Zike Trust and the Rosalene (Kay) Zike Trust, in memory of the parents of Bell Tower Foundation President Carole Custer. Cost for adults is $5. Individual season passes are available at the tower for $25.
The 2023 Bell Tower Festival will be held on June 9-10 in downtown Jefferson. A fundraising downtown dinner will be held the evening of June 8. The festival theme is Live Your Legacy with the year of ’23 being a Legacy year. Activities and entertainment are planned for families to enjoy along with the famous parade. Class reunions traditionally return to the community during the festival weekend so it is a great weekend to catch up with family and friends.
The Bell Tower Festival website at www.belltowerfestival.com and the Facebook page of Bell Tower Festival share all of the updates, links for registrations, entertainment and activities. A new website that highlights all Jefferson and Greene County is www.experiencejeffersoniowa.com. Be sure to check these out and save them to refer back to later on.
The Mahanay Memorial Carillon (Bell Tower) will be open extended hours during the Festival: Friday from 10 am – 8 pm; Saturday from 9 am – 8 pm; and Sunday 10 am – 4 pm.
Youth are FREE courtesy of the Victor Zike Trust and the Rosalene (Kay) Zike Trust, in memory of the parents of Bell Tower Foundation President Carole Custer. Adult admission is $5. There may be limited numbers allowed in the lobby and Paul Nally Observation Deck at a time, but everyone will have a chance to take the tour. Individual season passes are available at the tower for $25.
Come for the view. Stay for the bells. The bells continue to ring the Westminster Chimes each quarter hour. Two songs play after each hour from 8 am – 8 pm. Views from the observation are spectacular with rooftop art installations and the beautiful rural countryside.
Do you like trivia? Especially musical trivia? Then plan to play Name That Tower Tune during the Wednesday Tower Tunes Live concerts at the Mahanay Bell Tower. Mahanay Maestros will play the four octave carillon from 12:15 – 12:30 pm. with songs of their choice. The entirety of each song will be played, not just a few notes.
Participants will have an official sheet to write down the titles of the songs. No cell phones or song identification apps are allowed. At the end of the live concert, the Mahanay Maestro will announce the correct titles. Mahanay Music Committee members will assist the participants and determine a winner. Prizes will be awarded. Music Committee members include Nancy Teusch, Janet Durlam, Joann Rasmussen, Ces Brunow, Pat Richards, Don VanGilder, Peg Raney and Bill Monroe.
The Name That Tower Tune event will begin on Wednesday, May 31 with Mahanay Maestro Rick Morain and continue each Wednesday through the end of June. Participants are encouraged to arrive at the Mahanay Bell Tower soon after noon to receive a sheet and instructions prior to the 12:15 pm live concert.
The Bell Tower Foundation encourages people to pick up a to-go lunch at any of the local restaurants and enjoy it on the Bell Tower Plaza during these lunch time events.
A musical contest has been announced by the Mahanay Music Committee of the Bell Tower Community Foundation. An original, short, musical phrase that can be played on the carillon will be used to call people to special events in the community. Musicians should consider how the Kentucky Derby bugle call, the Westminster Chimes, or the CBS tones are recognizable and serve as a brand. This contest would create an identifiable musical phrase specific to the Mahanay Memorial Carillon Tower as a fanfare before special events.
Musicians are asked to submit entries in written notation by June 1 to firstname.lastname@example.org. A suggestion is to use the two octaves above and below middle C. A committee will review all entries by listening to them played on the carillon and make a recommendation to the Greene County Board of Supervisors. The winning fanfare will be officially named “The Jefferson Chimes” and debuted at the 2023 Bell Tower Festival calling people to the Opening Ceremonies. This chime will continue to be used to call people to other special events in the community.
For more information or questions, please go to www.mahanaybelltower.org or contact music coordinator Peg Raney.
The Mahanay Memorial Carillon Tower, recently ranked as the #1 rural tourist attraction in Iowa, officially is open weekends in May. Hours are Saturday and Sunday from 10 am – 4 pm. The tower will be open daily from Memorial Day weekend through the end of September. The hours remain at 10 am – 4 pm. Appointments for special tours during the week in May or at other hours during the season when the tower is not open to the public can be made by calling the Welcome Center at 515-386-2155.
The four octaves of bells play the Westminster chimes at each quarter hour throughout the day. A carillon concert of two songs is played after each hour from 8 am – 8 pm. Mahanay Maestros, local and area musicians, provide special Tower Tunes Live concerts during the season. For a schedule go to www.mahanaybelltower.org
An elevator, handicap accessible, takes visitors to the glass-enclosed Nally Observation Deck up 128 feet for a view of the landscape of five counties and the five installations of rooftop art on buildings around the square. Local artist Dana Harrison is currently working on another rooftop art creation, a project of the Tower View Team of Jefferson Matters. Four new Ring Out for Art sculptures have been installed for the season on the Bell Tower Plaza.
The lobby has souvenirs and a video and historical items telling the story of the tower and the Jefferson community. A display honors the many Bell Tower of Fame Award recipients. The hospitality-trained tower tour guides are very knowledgeable about the history of the tower and Greene County.
Tower admission is $5 for adults. Youth 18-years old and younger are admitted free, courtesy of annual sponsors. The 2023 sponsors are the Victor Zike Trust and the Rosalene (Kay) Zike Trust, in memory of the parents of Bell Tower Foundation President Carole Custer. Season passes are available at the tower for $25.
For more information about the tower and its activities, follow the Mahanay Bell Tower Facebook page and check out its website www.mahanaybelltower.org
As families and friends gather for the holidays, the Mahanay Bell Tower may be one of those memorable places to experience. The Tower is closed for the season but tours can be arranged by appointment by calling The Welcome Center at 515-386-2155. The Bell Tower staff will be happy to meet you at the Tower and give a special tour.
The Christmas bells have been hung in the Paul Nally Observation Deck and are a beacon to those coming into the community. The bells continue to play the Westminster Chimes at each quarter hour and two songs after each hour from 8 am – 8 pm.
Thanks to a Greene County Community Foundation Grant, the Bell Tower Foundation was able to continue to market the Mahanay Bell Tower this past year with billboards on Hwy. 30, Hwy. 144 & Hwy. 4. Several of the billboards announced the Tower as Rural Iowa’s #1 Attraction for 2021.
These well-traveled roads have brought many visitors to Jefferson and the Mahanay Bell Tower again during 2022. The Bell Tower Foundation submitted a grant for this marketing because hotel/motel tax from the previous year of COVID was not available.
The Board of Directors of the Bell Tower Foundation and the many visitors who enjoyed the Tower are grateful for this award.
On Veteran’s Day, November 11, a special Tower Tunes Live concert will be performed by Mahanay Maestro Rick Morain.
From 12:15 – 12:30 pm, the public is invited to listen to the concert played on the four-octave carillon. Maestro Morain’s playlist will honor military veterans.
The Veteran’s Day concert is part of the regular Tower Tunes Live concert series set up by the county board of supervisors and coordinated through the Bell Tower Community Foundation.