St. Patrick’s Day 2020: Your Guide to Family Friendly Events & Activities in Des Moines

St. Patrick’s Day 2020: Your Guide to Family Friendly Events & Activities in Des Moines

Here comes Saint Patrick’s Day; time to brush up the Irish brogue for the one time per year (unless you’re really Irish) that you use it. The holiday is Tuesday, March 17, 2020 but there are several opportunities to celebrate. So top o’ the marnin’ to ye; Erin Go Bragh; that shade of green looks bonny on you, and let’s go find that pot o’ gold Des Moines!

You can find more seasonal fun on our Event Calendar and be sure to sign up for our FREE Weekend Fun Guide so you can get our best weekend event picks delivered to your inbox.

***Due to the evolving COVID-19 situation, all events have been cancelled through March 15th – March 31st.  

Here are our favorite ways to celebrate Irish culture and St. Patrick’s Day with kids in Des Moines. Sláinte!

March 1st  

Foy School of Irish Dance Annual Hooley– FREE

Join the Foy School of Irish Dance as they kick off the St. Patrick’s Day Season with their Irish Dance Hooley.  Their annual Hooley (a celebration of Irish music and dance) is at the Saydel High School Auditorium with shows at 1:00 and 4:00 pm. Admission is FREE, but reservations are highly recommended. Please visit the ticket link to reserve your seats now. A free-donation will be accepted. Enjoy Irish Dance, music and plenty of craic!

March 7th

GPS Pot of Gold

Participants will learn how to use a handheld Global Positioning Unit then use the GPS to find hidden “gold coins” in the park. With a little leprechaun luck, along the way they will also find some information about the wildlife that calls MacRae Park home. This event is hosted by Des Moines Parks and Recreation and pre-registration is required. The fee is $10 and only applies to participants that will be collecting the “gold.”

March 8th


The popular and multi-award-winning quintet Goitse was forged in the white-hot creative crucible of Limerick’s Irish World Academy. Named Live Ireland’s “Traditional Group of the Year,” Chicago Irish American News’ “Group of the Year,” as well as winning the prestigious “Freiburger International Leiter 2016” award in Germany, Goitse have become a leader of the new generation of traditional Irish ensembles. At the Temple Theater.

March 10th

Family Storytime: Foye School of Irish Dance – FREE

The Foy School of Traditional Irish Dance will be at Central Library during Family Storytime in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. Come watch this traditional Irish Dancing performance and stay to learn some steps from the dancers themselves!

March 11th

Lucky Leprechaun BINGO – FREE

Try your luck at Altoona Public Library’s Lucky Leprechaun BINGO game! Registration is required. Children seven and under must be accompanied by a responsible adult.

St. Patrick’s Day 2020: Your Guide to Family Friendly Events & Activities in Des Moines  –

March 14th  

Des Moines St. Paddy’s Half Marathon & 5K

POSTPONED – A family friendly St. Paddy’s Half Marathon and 5K, appropriate for all ages at the Iowa State Capitol Grounds. 7:00 am Packet Pick-Up, 8:15 am Kids Dash Start and 8:30 am Half Marathon & 5K Start.

Celtic Music Assocation Presents: Calan

The Welsh band Calan is on a mission to prove that traditional music, based on folklore and taught and performed through the generations, actually does rock. With 2017 performances in Australia and China following several months touring the US and UK supporting the new album Solomon (Sain Records, May 12th), Calan is on its way to accomplishing that. In concert at Franklin Junior High.

March 17th 

Geocache Leprechaun Hunt

Join a Polk County naturalist at Fort Des Moines Park, Shelter #3 to learn how to use a GPS, then go search the woods for Leprechauns! If you are lucky, you may even find a pot of gold. Dress for the weather as the trails may be muddy. Two times available at 10:00 am and 12:30 pm. Space is limited, so register early. Pre-registration required; deadline is March 13. Fee is $5 per child (ages 5-15).

St. Patrick’s Day Parade – FREE

CANCELLED!!! – The St. Patrick’s Day Parade snakes through Downtown Des Moines and is sponsored by the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick. The parade starts at 12:00 noon.  The parade route runs from 15th Street to Grand and then east to 8th Street. The parade fills the streets with costumed marchers, Irish step dancers, bagpipes, drum corps, and more.

St. Patrick’s Day Reception – FREE

CANCELLED!!! – After the parade all are welcome at the Marriott Hotel at 7th & Grand for the official Friendly Sons of St. Patrick reception following the parade. Enjoy music by Kelly’s Clan, along with performances by a Des Moines piping group and the Foy Dancers. Food and drink will be available, of course. Parade awards will be presented and raffle prize winners will be announced at 4:00 pm.

Leprechaun Fuel– FREE

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at the Grimes Public Library by exploring math and science concepts while making a delicious rainbow lemonade. Drink the rainbow! Ages 6+.

March 21st  

37th Annual Friendly Sons of St. Patrick 5K & 10K Run/Walk

Make like a leprechaun and run as fast as you can at the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick Fun Run. Funds raised at this event provide scholarships to two senior cross country or track athletes (one girl and one boy) who will be graduating from Des Moines metro area high schools.

March 22nd

St. Patrick Family Bowling Party

Bring your little leprechauns to Warrior Lanes for a safe, fun-filled afternoon of Glow-in-the-Dark bowling.  This is an alcohol-free event. $59.95 per lane includes: bowling (2 hours), shoe rental, large one topping pizza and a pitcher of soda. Maximum of five bowlers per lane. Pre-Paid Non-Refundable Reservations are required by March 20, 2020.



Let us know if we missed your favorite St. Patrick’s Day event or activity and we’ll add it to the list!  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *