2017 Guide to the Best Summer Festivals in Des Moines - dsm4kids.com

2017 Guide to the Best Summer Festivals in Des Moines

Summer brings endless opportunities for outdoor fun to the Des Moines metro. Local communities host exciting events filled with art, live music, local food and activities for guests of all ages. Many of which are FREE to attend! So, grab your family and take part in one of these fun festivals happening this summer in the Des Moines area.



May 26 – 27, 2017, Western Gateway Park – Downtown Des Moines

Kick off your summer at CelebrAsian! Experience over a dozen Asian villages where you can delight all five of your senses from the authentic Asian food, educational activities, to live cultural entertainment. Each May the festival unites the different Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander communities in Iowa. Who knew you can experience so many rich cultures of Asia without leaving Iowa?!


Celebrate Waukee

June 2 – 3, 2017, Waukee

This family-friendly event will kick off Friday evening with one of Waukee’s free “Movies in the Park”. Saturday morning festivities begin in the historic Waukee Triangle with a pancake breakfast and a 5K run. Activities continue with a parade that will take the fun from Triangle Park to Centennial Park where attendees will find a wide range of activities for all ages, including inflatables, food, drinks, live music, fireworks and much more.

Grimes Governor’s Days

June 8-10, 2017, Grimes

Governors Days is one of the grandest summer festivals in the Des Moines, Iowa metropolitan area. Held entirely within the Governors District, in the heart of Grimes, Iowa, this premier summer event incorporates all the ingredients for an exciting family friendly event. Complete with concerts, parades, carnivals, car shows and much, much more; Governors Days has something for everyone.

Newton Fest

June 8-11, 2017, Newton

Newton Fest is a weekend of family-friendly, affordable fun. The festival is meant for kids, teens, families and adults and organizers hope the event will encourage ALL Newton residents to get out of their homes and celebrate what is great about the community. Attendees will enjoy arts and crafts, food, music, a kids carnival and more.

Johnston Green Days

June 16-18, 2017, Johnston

When the event was started in 1996, it focused on Johnston’s agricultural and horticultural tradition. The Chamber worked with Johnston’s many nursery and greenhouse operations, local garden clubs and other groups, to start this tradition – and helped it grow to be one of Iowa’s leading summer festivals. Today, the Green Days activities include a parade, carnival, children’s activities, entertainment in the beverage garden, rib tasting, Bill Riley Talent Search, 5K walk and run and much more!

Des Moines Arts Festival

June 23-25, 2017, Western Gateway Park – Downtown Des Moines

Celebrating 20 years, art lovers will not want to miss the Des Moines Arts Festival at Western Gateway Park. This year’s festival encompasses a diverse selection of visual arts, live music, performing arts, interactive arts and a film festival. Food booths and interactive art activities will keep the whole family entertained.

ArtFest Midwest

June 24-25, 2017, Iowa State Fairgrounds – Des Moines

Known as “The Other Art Show”, ArtFest Midwest features Iowa and regional artists. Over 250 artists participate during the festival, varying in mediums and styles. Patrons will be exposed to the artwork of local and regional artists, as well as selected artists from across the country. Hands-on children’s activities and artists demonstrations will also take place throughout the weekend.


80/35 Music Festival

July 7-8, 2017, Downtown Des Moines

Celebrating its 10th Anniversary, 80/35 is a music packed two-day festival showcasing musicians, artists and fantastic food from around the Des Moines area and beyond. And, it’s not just for adults; 80/35 is for the entire family. Again, this year the festival will offer a Kids Zone featuring a variety of FREE activities specifically for kids from 5:00 to 7:00 pm on Friday and 12:00 to 7:00 pm on Saturday.

Ankeny Summerfest

July 8-11, 2017, Ankeny

Bring the entire family for a taste of good old-fashioned fun! Ankeny SummerFest takes place near the Prairie Ridge Middle School and includes a community parade, Miss 16 Contest, cardboard boat regatta, carnival rides, lots of food, fun, games, music and a fabulous fireworks finale.

Waukee Arts Festival

July 8, 2017, Waukee

The third annual Waukee Arts Festival will be held again this year in Centennial Park.  Attendees can enjoy over 50 artists booths, a variety of food vendors, musicians playing throughout the day, and much more.  They will cap the evening with a concert in the park.

Adventure Days Festival

July 22, 2017, Des Moines

The Blank Park Zoo will be buzzing with different activities for all ages at their Adventure Days Festival. Create a masterpiece in the arts and crafts marketplace, chat with keepers, participate in special activities and more.

Clive Festival

July 20-22, 2017, Clive

The Clive Festival will be here before you know it!  As one of the best community festivals in the Des Moines Metro area, the festival celebrates Clive’s beautiful Greenbelt Trail. This year’s schedule is packed with activities for both kids and adults to provide a well-rounded event for the entire Clive community.

National Balloon Classic

July 28 – August 5, 2017, Indianola

Make the trip to Indianola for this incredible 9-day event.  Live bands and entertainment nightly, Kids Land activities, fabulous food offerings, Nite Glow Extravaganza, fireworks, and of course spectacular hot air balloons from all over the country.


July 29, 2017, Pleasant Hill

Enjoy summer with family at Pleasant Hill’s FamilyFest. The event will feature a parade and inflatables for the kids, a car show and a movie in the park for everyone. There will be an evening firework show to end the night.

Italian-American Heritage Festival of Iowa

July 28-29, Western Gateway Park – Downtown Des Moines

The Italian-American Heritage Festival of Iowa “VIVA L’ITALIA” will return to Western Gateway Park in Downtown Des Moines. The festival will offer something for everyone – cultural and vocational displays, food preparation demonstrations, contests, continuous live entertainment, children’s activities and excellent Italian cuisine.



August 4-5, 2017, St. Charles

Two days of music curated for all who love both music and the outdoors. True to its name, Hinterland is held in St. Charles, a beautiful rural escape just outside Des Moines, Iowa. The annual festival features a blend of music, camping, art, craft vendors, family engagement and more.

Waukee Music Festival

August 5, 207, Waukee

A new music festival will be held this year on the Triangle in downtown Waukee. This one day song fest will show case all kinds of music genres including EDM, country, R&R, R&B, jazz, and much more. ​The Festival area will feature food and beverage and retail vendors.  The Playground area will feature free activities for kids and adults

Adel Sweet Corn Festival

August 12, 2017, Adel

Celebrate summer at the Adel Sweet Corn Festival. The event is held the second Saturday in August in downtown Adel and features more than 7 tons of FREE sweet corn, live entertainment, a parade, various vendors, a beer garden and more.

Ingersoll Live

August 26, 2017, Des Moines

Get Your Glow On at the 14th annual Ingersoll LIVE celebration of the Ingersoll and Grand District in Des Moines. This family-friendly street festival offers live music throughout the afternoon and evening, inflatables, rides and activities for kids, arts and crafts for browsing and buying, food and beverage vendors, street performances, and much more.


Sleepy Hollow Renaissance Faire

Weekends – September 2-4, September 9-10 & September 16-17, Des Moines

Experience the “Age of Enlightenment” at the Sleepy Hollow Renaissance Faire. Attend the spectacle of the coronation at the Royal Court. Shout the battle cry of your favorite knight at the jousting arena. Partake in demonstrations by glass blowers, blacksmiths, potters, wood carvers, and painters. Come Hungry! The irresistible aromas of the various vendors’ baked goods, smoked meats, stir fry, roasted nuts and caramel corn will delight even the pickiest eater.

World Food & Music Festival

September 15 – 17, Downtown Des Moines

An annual showcase of food and music from around the world. The Festival commemorates Iowa’s rich agricultural heritage and endorses Buy Fresh, Buy Local with a Farmers’ Market Cooking Challenge.   This popular fest hosts a variety of attractions, including: food vendors, music and entertainment, cultural and cooking demonstrations, Kids Chocolate Adventure, international and craft beers, fireworks and free bike valet.


 What Des Moines area summer fest does your family hit every year? Tell us in the comments!


Looking for more family-friendly summer fun? Check out our Summer Fun Guide or our events calendar.

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