Tower Opens for 2024

The Mahanay Memorial Carillon Tower will officially open weekends in May starting May 4-5.  Hours are Saturday and Sunday from 10 am – 4 pm.  Daily hours begin on Memorial Day weekend through the end of October with hours remaining at 10 am – 4 pm.  The daily hours in October are a new addition because of the number of visitors last season during that month.  The Mahanay Tower was selected as the #1 Rural Attraction in 2021 by Iowa Tourism.  

Appointments for special tours during the week in May or at other hours during the season can be made by calling the Welcome Center at 515-386-2155 during work hours.  Large group tours can be personalized if planned ahead of time.    

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 9 am – 7 pm.  This year, the new “Jefferson Chimes” written by local musician Jennifer Powers will be played on the carillon after the 8 am Westminster Chimes and the 8 pm Westminster Chimes.  This new “Jefferson Chimes” melody will begin and end the day in Jefferson.  

Mahanay Maestros, local and area musicians, will continue to provide special Tower Tunes Live concerts each Wednesday of the season from May 29- August 28.  These will be played live from 12:15 -12:30 pm.  Name that Tower Tune is a Wednesday event that will continue from May 29 during the month of June during the Tower Tunes Live concerts. Participants on the plaza will try to name the tunes played on the carillon. 

A handicap accessible elevator takes visitors to the glass-enclosed Paul Nally Observation Deck up 128 feet for a view of the landscape of Greene County and the installations of rooftop art on buildings around the square.  Four new Ring Out for Art sculptures will be installed for the season on the Bell Tower Plaza in May.  The rooftop art and sculptures are a project of the Tower View Team of Jefferson Matters.

The Bell Tower Lobby offers souvenirs, an historical video, and special items telling the story of the tower and the Jefferson community. A display honors the many Bell Tower of Fame Award recipients. Visitors are asked to locate their home on the maps – both U.S. and the world.  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 and younger are admitted free, courtesy of annual sponsors.  The 2024 sponsor for youth is A & W Family Restaurant in Jefferson.  Individual season passes are available at the tower for $25. For more information about the tower and activities, follow the Mahanay Bell Tower Facebook page.

Colored Lighting

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.

2023 Mahanay Bell Tower Birthday Party

News Release: 

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 2023 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.

Tower To Open Daily!

The Mahanay Memorial Carillon Tower will open daily to the public on Memorial Day  in May. The Tower staff welcomes visitors from 10 am – 4 pm daily through the end of October. It is open weekends in May. 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 2024 sponsor, the A & W Family Restaurant in Jefferson Cost for adults is $5. Individual season passes are available at the tower for $25.

Name That Tower Tunes Live

A Mahanay Maestro will play the carillon with songs of their choice.  Individuals or groups will write down the titles of the songs.  The Maestro will announce the titles at the end.  Prizes are awarded!

Name That Tower Tunes Live

A Mahanay Maestro will play the carillon with songs of their choice.  Individuals or groups will write down the titles of the songs.  The Maestro will announce the titles at the end.  Prizes are awarded!

Bell Tower Festival 2023

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 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 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.

Name That Tower Tune

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.

The Jefferson Chimes

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  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 or contact music coordinator Peg Raney.  

Name That Tower Tune Live Concert

A Mahanay Maestro will play the carillon with songs of their choice.  Individuals or groups will write down the titles of the songs.  The Maestro will announce the titles at the end.  Prizes are awarded!