Des Moines Arts Festival: Ultimate Kid’s Guide

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Kid’s Guide to the Des Moines Arts Festival 2024

One of our favorite central Iowa festivals is the Des Moines Arts Festival. It is free to attend and there is a ton offered for all ages. Here is a kid’s guide to the Des Moines Arts Festival this summer in Western Gateway Park. Make sure you add it to your summer bucket list.

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  • Friday, June 28; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Saturday, June 29; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Sunday, June 30; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The schedule + interactive activities

You can find the complete schedule online. You can find everything from live music, to special events and more.

Below is a small list of kids’ activities being offered by local businesses and organizations, some are located in the Creative Zone. Some are free and some may ask for a small fee or donation.

  • BOOM ART! An interactive Mural Project suspended 30 feet high from the all-new MidAmerican Energy all-electric bucket truck.
  • Paint plantable, flower seed paper. Kids will choose from biodegradable paint colors to paint words, images, or designs on their very own plantable seed paper! They can take their project home with them or leave it with us to be planted in our community garden pollinator area where signage will explain where the flowers came from.
  • Create seed balls as part of the Blank Park Zoo Plant.Grow.Fly conservation initiative. These balls are made of organic clay and contain native Iowa prairie seeds that can be planted to create more habitat for Iowa pollinators.
  • Rock painting that inspires through positive messaging! Leave your creation in a park or on your dresser for daily motivation.
  • Create a public art project made out of Legos!
  • Use craft materials to make and decorate paper instruments!
  • Create a virtual chorus!  Children and families sing a song and it’ll be recorded live. At the end of the Festival, the recording will be fashioned into a virtual choir piece that will live on indefinitely.
  • Children will create pause bracelets, using three green beads to represent an ellipsis, as a reminder to pause and center themselves.
  • Get a quick mini-dance lesson or create your dancing puppet!
  • And much more! 

Events of Interest 

  • Strolling Entertainment – Dennis Porter of Happy Faces Entertainment – Various times
  • Strolling Entertainment – Luther Bangert – Various times
  • Des Moines Playhouse – School of Rock: June 29 at 12:30 p.m.
  • Emmett Phillips Showcase – June 29 at 2 p.m.
  • Des Moines Young Artist Theatre – June 30 at 11:30 a.m.
  • Central Iowa Music Lab – June 30 at 3 p.m.

Other activities + events your kiddos will love

  • Live music! There is a lot of open green space. Find a place to relax and enjoy one of the many artists lined -up to perform. The kids will love to dance and run.
  • Let the children run through and explore the John & Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park.
  • Eat food. The Des Moines Arts Festival is a great place to enjoy delicious, local food.

Some tips to make your life a bit easier with kids

  • Bring cash. Some food vendors and shops may accept cards, but not all. There are different ATM locations available. 
  • If you are bringing a stroller, throw a large blanket and/or foldable chair for sitting & listening to live music.
  • Bring water bottles & snacks! There are food vendors, but you may want to eat one big meal.
  • Bring a swimsuit and an extra change of clothes. There is a fun area to play and get wet. A great place to cool off in the heat of the Summer.

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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