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 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.
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