2017 Guide to Family-Friendly Fall Festivals in Des Moines - dsm4kids.com

2017 Guide to Family-Friendly Fall Festivals in Des Moines

Make the most of the fall season in Central Iowa at fun family-friendly festivals. This festival guide is your comprehensive list, whether you’re looking for a large festival downtown or an event with small-town charm, this guide can help you plan your day or weekend in Des Moines. If you’re looking for even more fall fun, be sure to check out our Fall Fun Guide

September Festivals

Renaissance Faire at Sleepy Hollow

Weekends – September 2, 3 and 4; September 9-10 & September 16-17, 2017, Sleepy Hollow, Des Moines

Experience medieval times at the Des Moines Renaissance Faire at Sleepy Hollow. Shout the battle cry of your favorite knight at the jousting arena. Partake in demonstrations by glass blowers, blacksmiths, potters, wood carvers, and painters. Go Hungry! The irresistible aromas of the various vendors’ baked goods, smoked meats, roasted nuts and caramel corn will delight even the pickiest eater.

Pufferbilly Days

September 7 – 10, 2017, Boone

This four-day community festival fills the streets of Boone with tons of awesome events and entertainment. Pufferbilly Days features; Lil Ms. and Mr. Contests, Mud Volleyball Tournament, Horseshoe Tournament, Disc Golf Tourney, Bike Ride, Spelling Bee, Pet Show, Photo Contest, and more. They will also have three nights of rockin’ entertainment with a food court and a Carnival.

Beaverdale Fall Festival

September 15-16, 2017, Beaverdale

Beaverdale Fall Festival is one of the oldest fall festivals in the Des Moines, Iowa metropolitan area. Held annually this fun fall event incorporates all the ingredients for an exciting family friendly happening. Complete with parade, vendors, teen dance, live music and fireworks and much, much more; Beaverdale Fall Festival has something for everyone.

World Food & Music Festival

September 15 -17, 2017, Western Gateway Park, Des Moines

An annual showcase of food and music from around the world. The World Food & Music Festival commemorates Iowa’s rich agricultural heritage and endorses Buy Fresh, Buy Local with a Farmer’s Market Cooking Challenge.  Located in Western Gateway Park in Downtown Des Moines, the Festival features food vendors, demonstration tents, live music and entertainment and more.

Apple Festival

September 16, 2017, Penoach Winery, Adel

Enjoy a family fun day at Penoach Winery. FREE wine tasting, hot apple wine and slushies for sale. Tractor and wagon rides around the vineyard, face painting and marshmallow roasting. There will also be food, produce, and craft vendors and music by Code Blue.  The festival is from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.

South Des Moines Sculpture Park Art Festival

September 16, 2017, Southwest 8th & McKinley, Des Moines

The South Des Moines Sculpture Park Art Festival is a yearly event showcasing local artists. There will be 20 to 25 art vendors, all local artists, as well as the Festival’s friends from the Blank Park Zoo. The Festival offers FREE parking, shuttle service, FREE food and entertainment and children’s activities. Join the fun from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Art on the Lake

September 17, 2017, Copper Creek Lake, Pleasant Hill

Enjoy the Pleasant Hill arts festival at Copper Creek Lake Park. Art on the Lake will provide the public an opportunity to meet, talk with, and purchase artwork from 20-30 Iowa artists. Entertainment will be provided and kids can come enjoy the fun by visiting the Kids Tent to create an art project. Food will be available for purchase at the festival.

Blank Park Zoo Monarch Festival

September 17, 2017, Blank Park Zoo, Des Moines

The Blank Park Zoo Monarch Festival will highlight the miraculous migration of the monarch butterfly and will offer everything from traditional Mexican dancing, puppet shows, monarch tagging and habitat education to FREE seeds to start your own butterfly garden, crafts and activities. Make sure the kids put on their best insect costume for the Bug Parade! Event is from 12:00 to 4:00 pm and will go on, rain or shine.

White Eagle Multicultural Pow Wow

September 22-24, 2017, Iowa State Fair Grounds, Des Moines

“A gathering to bring down the walls of misunderstanding and to help mend the Sacred Hoop”. The goal of the White Eagle Multicultural Pow Wow is to bring families of all races together, to bring down the walls of misunderstanding, to share a little of all heritages through drumming, music, dance, and story, and to understand that we are not that different.  This year’s event will be on the Anne and Bill Riley Stage at the Iowa State Fair Grounds.


September 23, 2017, Living History Farms, Urbandale

Spend the afternoon in our 1875 town celebrating all things apple! Try your hand at stirring the copper kettle of apple butter and take your turn cranking the cider press. Children’s games and crafts round out the fun. Fresh local apples and other goodies will be on sale in the Visitor Center.

Herfst Feest {Harvest Fest}

September 23, 2017, Pella

Celebrate all things fall at Herfst Feest {Harvest Fest} in downtown Pella!  Enjoy live music, great works of art, tons of activities for kids, 5K Color Blast Run, shopping, salsa and baking contests, marching band competition and tours at the Historical Village.


September 23, 2017, West Des Moines

Light Up West Des Moines at Illumifest, A Fall Festival of Light, which offers a variety of activities and events for people of all ages. There will be inflatables and games, as well as, a wide variety of food stands.  There will also be FREE lantern making, a “Royal Promenade” around the Pond, featuring Royal characters from Little Princess Parties, a FREE outdoor movie – “Beauty and the Beast” and fireworks to close out the evening.

Iowa Latino Heritage Festival

September 23-24, 2017, Western Gateway Park, Des Moines

The Latino Heritage Festival will be held at Western Gateway Park in downtown Des Moines. It has grown to become one of the most widely attended cultural events in Iowa. The festival includes various musical entertainment, dancers, a children’s area and activities, Latin American foods, booths about the countries represented at the festival and more.

Log Cabin Days Festival

September 23-24, 2017, Fair Grounds, Indianola

The 2017 Log Cabin Festival’s theme is the 1940’s and will be held at the Warren County Fairgrounds. Parade, entertainment, home cooked meals, a classic car show, antiques, quilts, crafts, 1940s dance and costume contest, a pie and cake auction, and more.

All-State Barn Tour in Iowa 

September 23-24, 2017, Multiple Locations

It’s the Iowa Barn Foundation’s 17th annual FREE, self-guided tour of restored historic barns across the state. The All-State Barn Tour has been organized to encourage barn preservation in Iowa, to teach young people about Iowa’s rich agricultural heritage, and to renew pride in this heritage.  The tour is arranged so that you can go from barn to barn on your own, as time and distances permit. Barns are open from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm each day.

Art Harvest Tour 2017

September 23-24, 2017, Multiple Locations, Perry

The “Art Harvest Tour” is a studio tour of Central Iowa artists held annually the last full weekend in September. Enjoy the beautiful fall weather and scenery as you visit the studios and galleries of the area’s best artists. In addition to enjoying the studios, you’ll see a much wider selection of the artists work, since it doesn’t have to all fit in a van, and great prices and specials too. There will be ten stops this year on the approximately 90-mile loop around the beautiful Des Moines River Valley.

The Octagon Art Festival

September 24, 2017, Ames

Visual arts, children’s art areas and performing arts form the foundation of the 47th Annual Octagon Art Festival. You will be in good company with more than 100 professional artists from across the Midwest who produce and display high-quality original artwork in a wide variety of media. The festival is held outdoors on pavement, rain or shine, in the Main Street Cultural District in downtown Ames. Hours: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.

October Festivals

Taco Festival

October 7, 2017, Western Gateway Park, Des Moines

Taco about a fun time! A $12 General Admission ticket provides access to a collection of taco makers, restaurants, food trucks and others dishing out $2 tacos. Add bars and beverage stations serving margaritas, beer, water, and soda, and it’s a taco fiesta.

Vintage and Made Fair

October 7-8, 2017, Living History Farms, Urbandale

Vintage & Made Fair is inspired by indie craft and all things vintage. It’s an outdoor market featuring antique and vintage home décor, jewelry, handcrafted goods, outdoor accents, seasonal flora, food trucks, live music and everything you need to create a vintage and handmade lifestyle. The fair is a 2-day event where shoppers and over 100 vendors can share a love for vintage and indie craft.

Madison County Covered Bridge Festival

October 14-15, 2017, Winterset

The annual Covered Bridge Festival has been a time-honored tradition in Madison County. Each year on the second full weekend in October, county residents gather under the brilliant hues of autumn to celebrate their historic covered bridges. The festival features a wide variety of food, antique and craft vendors, nonstop music and entertainment, artisans demonstrating the old-fashioned ways, quilt show, car show, an antique vehicle parade, guided bus tours of the covered bridges, and so much more.

November Festivals

Santa’s North Pole Village Craft Show

November 4, 2017, Northview, Parkview & Prairie Ridge Middle School, Ankeny

Santa’s North Pole Village Craft Sale is one of the most popular craft shows in Iowa, featuring hand-crafted items such as jewelry, furniture, clothing and holiday decor. There are about 250 exhibitors at this event, from fine art crafters to jewelry and candle makers, and more. This event is the Ankeny Art Center’s biggest fundraiser of the year and has been an Ankeny tradition for 35 years!

Art on the Prairie

November 11-12, 2017, Perry, IA

In November over 100 Iowa artists, musicians, poets, authors, and performers will gather in Perry’s downtown Cultural and Historic District to celebrate the arts with the eighth annual Art on the Prairie. This nonprofit art festival is a collaboration of creativity that layers art, music, and words from a foundation of small town community spirit and ingenuity. It is FREE to the public. Hours: Saturday 10 – 5 and Sunday 10 – 4.


If you know of a festival to add to the list, please email nicole@dsm4kids.com.


What’s your family’s favorite fall festival to attend in Central Iowa? We’d love to hear!

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