Mark your calendars…It’s time for summer festivals in Des Moines! From festival food to carnival rides to celebrating the amazing heritages that make Des Moines the cultural mecca it is: It wouldn’t be the warm-weather season without a smattering of festivals, feasts, and fun.
Here’s a roundup of our favorite summer festivals in the Des Moines area for 2018!
May 20, 2018, Historic Valley Junction, 5th Street – West Des Moines
The main focus of this arts festival is the juried exhibition of fine arts and crafts. There will also be musical entertainment, children’s art activities and artists’ demonstrations. Refreshments will be available from several food vendors on the street and many Valley Junction restaurants and retailers will be open as well.
May 25 – 26, 2018, 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?!
June 2, 2018, Downtown Triangle and Centennial Park – Waukee
The Waukee Community Festivals Committee is gearing up for Celebrate Waukee! Saturday morning festivities begin with the Rotary’s Club of Waukee Pancake Breakfast and a 5K run. Activities continue at Centennial Park where attendees will find a wide range of activities for all ages, including 3-on-3 basketball tournament, inflatables, food, drink, live music from bands Dick Danger and 5 Below, fireworks at dusk and more!
June 7-9, 2018, Downtown Governor’s District – 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, 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.
June 7-9, 2018, Downtown – 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.
June 14-17, 2018, Next to the Johnston Public Library – Johnston
Green Days is an annual community celebration held in Johnston and activities include a parade, carnival, live entertainment in the beverage garden, Bill Riley Talent Search, 5K run, interactive games for kids, and much more! This year’s festival theme is “The Nature Of Johnston”.
June 22-24, 2018, 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.
June 23-24, 2018, Iowa State Fairgrounds – Des Moines
Held the same weekend as the downtown art show, ArtFest Midwest features Iowa and regional artists. Over 250 artists participate during the festival, varying in mediums and styles. ArtFest Midwest is an alternative, affordable art show — a complement to the downtown show. Patrons with be exposed to the artwork of local and regional artists, as well as selected artists from across the country.
July 6-7, 2018, Western Gateway Park – Downtown Des Moines
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 4:00 to 7:00 pm on Friday and 1:00 to 7:00 pm on Saturday.
July 12-15, 2018, Prairie Ridge Middle School/Prairie Ridge Sports Complex – 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.
July 14, 2018, Centennial Park – Waukee
The fourth 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.
July 19-21, 2018, Clive Aquatic Center – 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.
July 26-29, 2018, Various Locations – Altoona
Altoona is celebrating their 150th birthday in 2018 with a big community festival. The Centennial Committee has several events and activities planned for the three-day celebration. They’ll have a parade, a Kids FREE FunZone, Art in the Park, Tractor and Car Shows, concerts and live performances and more.
July 27 – August 4, 2018, National Balloon Classic Memorial Balloon Field – 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 21, 2018, Copper Creek Lake Park – Pleasant Hill
Enjoy summer with family at Pleasant Hill’s FamilyFest. The event will feature a parade; activities and inflatables for the kids and a movie in the park for everyone. There will be an evening firework show to end the night.
July 27-28,2018, 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 3-4, 2018, Avenue of the Saints Amphitheater – 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. The annual fest features a blend of music, camping, art, craft vendors, family activities and more.
August 11, 2018, Downtown Square – 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.
August 25, 2018, 2800 Block of Ingersoll Avenue – Des Moines
Celebrating its 15th year, Ingersoll LIVE is a 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.
Weekends – September 1-3, September 8-9 & September 15-16, 2018, Sleepy Hollow Sports Park – 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.
September 2, 2018 – Warrior Run Golf Course – Norwalk
Celebrate all things Norwalk….Norwalk musicians and Norwalk vendors and businesses! You’ll be impressed with all the musical talent Norwalk has to offer at this family friendly event. Bands and musicians scheduled to play include: Dan Trilk and Trilk Rock School, James Biehn band, Corbett Reeves, Brooke Kimball, Jeff Arrandale and World Port Band.
September 14 – 16, 2018, Western Gateway Park – 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.
Did we miss one of your favorite summer festivals? Let us know in the Comments below!