Carnivals & Festivals in Des Moines

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Carnivals & Festivals in Des Moines 2023

One of our favorite things to do each summer in Des Moines, Iowa is to visit all the fun carnivals and festivals. Whether you are looking for food trucks, beer gardens, carnival games, live music, or just some community love, here is a giant list to keep you busy. Make sure you also check our event calendar for dates.

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Pella Tulip Festival

May 4-6

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. Plan your trip with this schedule of events.

Governors Days

June 8-10

Grimes South Sports Complex

Admission is free.

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 the Grimes Chamber & Economic Development. Take a look at the full schedule of events.

Make sure you attend the Grand Parade on Saturday, June 10! Des Moines Parent is sponsoring and will be leading the way.

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June 9-10

Newton, Iowa 

NewtonFest, the weekend that celebrates the best of Newton, is coming together for 2023. Take a look at the full schedule of events.

Bondurant Summerfest

June 12-13

Bondurant, Iowa

Enjoy carnival rides, live music, food vendors, and so much more in Bondurant, Iowa. Keep track of the full schedule here.

Johnston Green Days

June 15-18

Terra Park 

Admission is free.

Johnston Green Days is an annual community celebration held in Johnston, Iowa, at Terra Park. Green Days 2023 activities include Jammin’ in Johnston a Business Expo, the parade, a carnival, and live entertainment in the beverage garden.

Des Moines Arts Festival

June 23-25

Friday + Saturday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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. Plan your trip to this annual event with the schedule of events.

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Urbandale 4th of July Celebration

July 2-4

Urbandale is home to one of the largest 4th of July celebrations in the area. Carnival, parade, food vendors, live music, fireworks, and more. Stay up to date with all the fun here.

Earlham Freedom Festival

July 3-4

Earlham, Iowa

Carnival, parade, 5k, street dance, cornhole, and so much more! Take a look at the entire schedule here.

80/35 Music Festival

July 7-8

Western Gateway Park

Do not miss this 2-day event featuring non-profit music in beautiful downtown Des Moines. This year’s line-up is great. Take a look at the schedule and purchase tickets on the 80/35 website.

Ankeny Summerfest

July 7-9

The District at Prairie Trail

For more than 50 years, Ankeny SummerFest has brought Ankeny and the surrounding metro area together for 3 days of music, carnival rides, great local food, and fun! Every year, our committee members, staff, and volunteers work hard to bring this festival to life. From the Grand Parade to kick start the weekend to the amazing fireworks at the end, there’s something here for everyone to enjoy! View complete details.

Clive Festival 

July 21-22

Greenbelt Landing at the Clive Aquatic Center

The 47th annual tradition will take place at the Greenbelt Landing at the Clive Aquatic Center.  The Clive Festival will have activities for everyone including “Thunder Over Clive Fireworks”(both evenings at 9:30 p.m.).  Live music, the popular Fire Department’s Slip-N-Slide, Clive Running Festival, and plenty more FUN!

Four Seasons Festival

July 14-15

Located in the Polk City town square.

Admission is free.

The Four Seasons Festival is held annually in July in Polk City, Iowa.  Each year, the Festival features familiar favorites and new activities, including Live Music, Friday Night Bike Night, Beer Garden, a 5K Run, a Kids Fun Run, Parade, Bill Riley Talent Search, Classic Car Show, FREE Children’s Activities, Food Vendors, and MUCH MORE!  All ages are welcome to this family-friendly event. Take a look at the full schedule.

National Balloon Classic

July 28 – August 5

Located in Indianola at the Balloon Field.

View the full schedule and ticket prices on the National Balloon Classic website.

For 9 days in the Summer 100+ hot air balloons from around the country fill the sky with brilliant colors and charming special shapes. Do not miss a moment of excitement as skilled pilots compete for points and prizes while dazzling guests below. Great family fun and incredible entertainment value await; take in all the sights and sounds such as live music nightly, fabulous food and beverage options, Kids’ Land activities, fireworks, skydivers, and more! Buy a balloon ride for a one-of-a-kind view and prepare to be awestruck as dark skies come alive with a mystical glow during Dawn Patrols and Nite Glows. Take a look at this complete guide to planning your visit.

Iowa State Fair 

August 10-20

Iowa State Fairgrounds

Mark your calendars for the biggest and best fair of all, the Iowa State Fair! 11 days filled with food, fun, and more. Do not forget to bookmark the Ultimate Guide to the Iowa State Fair with Kids.

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Adel Sweet Corn Festival 

August 12

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

Glow Wild

September 23

3 to 8 p.m.

Jester Park 

Glow-in-the-dark climbing wall, giant yard games, beer, and other beverages, horse-drawn wagon rides, canoeing, an insect zoo, hands-on crafts, airbrush face painting, s’ mores, towering bonfire, live music, and much more! Take a look at the Glow Wild website for the full schedule and purchase tickets.

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Erin Huiatt

Erin is a reliable resource and stepping stone for women and families to find support and make connections within our community. She wants families to feel confident to reach out and ask for help and advice to get pointed in the right direction. She enjoys traveling and exploring with her two children in tow!

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