Summer always seems to fly by here in central Iowa, but it sure is jammin’ with festivals from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Whether you’re planning to indulge in some sweet corn, check out some really cool art, or get your groove on, there are so many family-friendly festivals happening all summer long. Grab the kids and have some fun at one of these Des Moines area festivals. And, be sure to check out our Summer Fun Guide to help plan some pretty epic adventures with the whole crew this summer.
Here’s a roundup of our favorite summer festivals in the Des Moines area for 2019!
May 19, 2019, Historic Valley Junction, 5th Street – West Des Moines
The main focus of this arts festival is the juried exhibition of fine arts and crafts, giving the public the opportunity to meet, interact with and purchase original work by artists. 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 24 – 25, 2019, 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?!
May 31 – June 2, 2019, Greek Orthodox Church of St. George – Des Moines
Enjoy Greek food, music, and dance and learn more about the Greek Orthodox faith at this three-day celebration that supports the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George.
June 1, 2019, 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 1, 2019, The District at Prairie Trail
A festival dedicated to all things PIZZA!!! Pizza tasting and food fare from area pizzerias, restaurants and food truck vendors, plus domestic and local craft beers! Admission is FREE!!! The event features two opening musical acts with Andy Grammar headlining. In addition, attendees will enjoy a pizza eating contest and Pizza Party Fun Zone for kids, featuring games, activities and prizes.
June 6-8, 2019, Downtown Governor’s District – Grimes
Held entirely within the Governors District, in the heart of Grimes, Governor Days, 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 6-8, 2019, 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 7, 2019 – Downtown Bondurant
Bring your lawn chairs and enjoy live music at this family-friendly FREE community event. Kids Rock Band and Hollywood Burnout are the featured bands.
June 7-9, 2019 – Downtown, Story City
Get your Scandi On: It’s an Uff-Da Good Time in Story City. Scandinavian Days still rings true to its roots with traditional foods, folklore and a rich pride of the community’s heritage. Festivities include a parade, 5K run, antique show, craft show and a variety of entertainment and vendors.
June 13-16, 2019, Terra Park – 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!
June 22, 2019, Sam Wise Sports Complex – Altoona
Altoona Palooza is back and bigger than ever. There’s something for everyone – music, inflatables, art show, car show, mud volleyball, kickball tournament, kids’ activities, festival food and so much more.
June 22, 2019 – Valley Community Center, West Des Moines
World Refugee Day Cultural Celebration is a fun, family friendly event full of music, games, food, and more. The mission of the cultural celebration is to showcase the wonderful refugee and immigrant communities of Des Moines and central Iowa.
June 28-30, 2019, 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 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 29-30, 2019, 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 11-14, 2019, 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 12-13, 2019, 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 12-13, 2019, Centennial Park – Waukee
The 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 with the Nadas.
July 19-20, 2019, Clive Aquatic Center – Clive
The Clive Festival will be here before you know it! 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 – August 3, 2019, 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 27, 2019, 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 26-27,2019, 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 2-4, 2019, Avenue of the Saints Amphitheater – St. Charles
Three 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 9-10, 2019, 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 24, 2019, 2800 Block of Ingersoll Avenue – Des Moines
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 – August 31-September 2, September 7-8 & September 14-15, 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 1, 2019 – Warrior Run Golf Course – Norwalk
Celebrate all things Norwalk….at the second annual Norwalk Music Fest. 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.
September 20 – 22, 2019, 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, international and craft beers, fireworks and free bike valet.
September 21, 2019 – Copper Creek Lake, Pleasant Hill
Art on the Lake art festival is a family-friendly event that is free to the community and features music by local musicians, food from local vendors, interactive kids’ crafts and showcases over 50 artists.
Did we miss one of your favorite Des Moines area summer festivals? Let us know in the Comments below!