Carnivals & Festivals in Des Moines

Carnivals & Festivals in Des Moines 2018

Each Summer the Des Moines area hosts tons of fun carnivals and festivals. Below you will find a list of carnivals and festivals happening this summer in Des Moines. Let me know if I am missing your favorite festival.

Des Moines, Iowa, Summer, Carnivals, Festivals

Make sure you also check our event calendar for dates.

Pella Tulip Festival

May 3 – 5

Pella Historical Village

Pella is beautiful and unique all year long, but at Tulip Time it comes alive with tulips, Dutch attire, parades, food, fun and more. Thousands of residents wear Dutch attire and celebrate our Dutch heritage. Three days each spring, Pella becomes the Netherlands to Pella residents and visitors alike. Travel back in time with us Thursday, Friday and Saturday, May 3, 4 &5 to a European village full of, tulips and excitement as we celebrate the 82nd anniversary of this colorful festival.

Celebrate The Parks

May 20 

Noon to 4 p.m. 

“Celebrate The Parks” open street event! Sunday, May 20th from 12-4pm we will be shutting down 6th avenue from Euclid to Douglas Ave for a family friendly afternoon that celebrates the Highland Park and Oak Park neighborhoods, their schools, businesses, and nonprofits!

Did you know that Highland Park has 5 “Turnaround Arts” schools (p.s. the only 5 in Iowa!). Or that there is a $4 million project underway for a new outdoor music venue and all-inclusive STAR Park to open on Riverview Park in 2020? Or that our neighborhoods is the home to ArtForce Iowa, Grandview University, I Have A Dream Foundation, and so many more great things? Well, we think it’s time to celebrate all this exciting stuff!

We will have more than 50 local Des Moines businesses and vendors at the event. Several businesses on the street of the event will be open that day as well.

Entertainment for the event includes several performances by local school groups, bounce houses for varying age ranges, and much more.

Come say “hi” to Des Moines Parent! We will be making seed balls.

CelebrAsian Festival

May 25 – 26

11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Western Gateway Park

Why pay for airfare when you can travel to Asia for free 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. Since its inception, CelebrAsian has become one of the year’s most anticipated events. Don’t miss out on the largest Asian American event in Iowa, showcasing cultural exhibits, history, food, performance artists, sports, martial arts, and family-friendly activities. Who knew you can experience so many rich cultures of Asia without leaving Iowa!


June 2

11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Centennial park and downtown triangle.

Admission is free.

Celebrate Waukee an annual event in June. At this event, our focus is bringing the community together to celebrate another wonderful year in the City of Waukee. We have a 5K run for our runners, and the Warrior Challenge for our elementary age kids.  This challenge allows our elementary age kids compete in activities and earn points for their school. The winner of the Warrior Challenge receives a donation to their school. The local Arts Council provides different activities for the kids throughout the day. We also have inflatables for the little ones to play on. We will have food and non-food vendors available for people to enjoy throughout the day. We are reaching out to our local businesses and organizations within our community and encouraging them to participate as a non-food vendor to give them a platform to promote their services. During the evening, we also host a beer garden with a band for everyone to relax before ending the day with Waukee’s signature fireworks show. This is a great way to kick off the summer in Waukee.


June 7 – 9 

Held within the Governors District.

Admission is free.

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. This grand community event is headed up by a vibrant group of dedicated volunteers and organized with the help of Grimes Chamber & Economic Development.


June 14 – 17

Held next to the Johnston Public Library.

Admission is free.

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!


June 22 – 24

Western Gateway Park

Admission is free.

The Des Moines Arts Festival® is a multi-day Festival that adds vibrancy to Central Iowa by creating opportunities for people of all ages, cultures and backgrounds to celebrate the arts.


July 2 – 4

Lions Park in Urbandale, Iowa.

Admission is free.

Urbandale is home to one of the largest 4th of July celebrations in the area!  You are invited  to bring the family to celebrate Independence day in the community. From a family-friendly street dance to carnival rides or a 2-mile long parade to a breathtaking fireworks display – the celebration has something for everyone. \


July 6-7

Western Gateway Park

80/35 is ready to begin with two days of music in the heart of downtown Des Moines at Western Gateway Park, with three stages and more than 40 acts.


July 7-9 

Newton, Iowa 

The idea for Newton Fest began when a group of local citizens realized there was a lack of a community celebration in Newton and wanted to work to provide a weekend of family-friendly, affordable fun. Newton Fest is meant to celebrate what is great about our community. From showcasing Red Pride to admiring Newton’s artistic side, the weekend is planned by a group of local citizens and community organizations to provide family-friendly, affordable fun for everyone. The jam-packed weekend 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.


July 12 – 15 

Near Prairie Ridge Middle School.

Admission is free.

Ankeny’s annual SummerFest is a four-day celebration with carnival rides, parades, bands, family fun and more!


July  19 – 21

Located at the Clive Aquatic Center.

Details have not been announced yet.


July 20 – 21

Located in the Polk City town square.

Admission is free

Parade, car show, rides, games, food, pancake breakfast and more!


July 26 – 29 

Celebrate Altoona turning 150! There are tons of fun activities and events planned including live music, food and beverage gardens, a parade, art in the park, tractor and car show, Old Town Historical events, and much more.


July 27 – August 4 

Located in Indianola at the Balloon Field.

There is an evening admission of $5.00

Watch hot air balloons take launch, ride the hot air balloons, food, kids activities and more.


August 9 – 19 

Iowa State Fairgrounds

Mark your calendars for the biggest and best fair of all, the Iowa State Fair! 10 days filled with food, fun and more.


August 11

 The Adel Sweet Corn Festival is a community event celebrating summer. The event is held the second Saturday in August in downtown Adel and includes sweet corn, activities, music and more for the whole family. 


Details to be announced!

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