John Wayne Day and Park Dedication in Newport Beach

May 29th, 2017 | by Annie
John Wayne Day and Park Dedication in Newport Beach

One of America’s favorite film cowboy’s and himself a huge fan of the U.S. military celebrated a birthday bash this Veteran’s Day Weekend. As many of you may already know, John Wayne’s birthday is May 26.  In the city of Newport Beach, California they take their local hero very seriously.  So much so – last year the city had designated his birthday “John Wayne Day” in Newport Beach and now they’ve christened a beautiful ocean view park in the Duke’s name.

The event included family, friends and military icons. Those who stepped up to the podium to speak on behalf of the great American patriot John Wayne included a good family friend, Duffy Duffield of world famous Duffy Electric Boats as well as Ethan Wayne.


Ethan Wayne explained how his father would be busy making films at studios in the San Fernando Valley and always looked forward to getting away with his family to his waterside home on Newport Beach Harbor any chance he had.

Ethan captured the crowd providing more details about how John Wayne spent much of his life as a boy and superstar film hero in the surf, on his boat the Wild Goose and just hanging out with the locals at the Sav-On‘s, The Cannery and his eventual home in the Bayshores area. I know there are lots of stories about movie stars flying in to their vacation home getaway for solace and peace of mind, however, few actually bother becoming part of the fabric of a community the way John Wayne did.


A unexpected surprise was John Wayne’s granddaughter, Jennifer Wayne, along with her country band Runaway June who sang a gorgeous rendition of our national anthem.With their fabulous and harmonious sound and upbeat delivery they are definitely the all-girl trio to watch.  I’m now following Runaway June across all social media and look forward to seeing them live on tour.


Newport Beach’s Mayor Kevin Muldoon, who’s actually quite a character himself said John Wayne was a great example for all Americans.

“He is a symbol for character and strength throughout our nation,” said the Mayor “John Wayne does more than inspire the many of us here in Newport Beach who are proud that he called Newport home.”

And as part of the build up to this great event the nearby Balboa Island Museum unveiled “John Wayne: At Home In SoCal,” with a picture gallery of John Wayne’s Newport Beach boating life with the Wayne family from 1920 – 1979.  And if you can’t get enough of John Wayne the Newport Beach Library has their own Life & Times of John Wayne photo exhibit which is running from now until September.


I got a bit of a John Wayne lift from standing next to the sign for the first time!


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