Des Moines Arts Festival: Ultimate Kid’s Guide

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Kid’s Guide to the Des Moines Arts Festival 2023

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 23; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Saturday, June 24; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Sunday, June 25; 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, 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.
  • SPIN ART – Join Prairie Meadows and the Altoona Lions Club to create your newest masterpiece from everyone’s favorite art pastime.
  • SEED BALLS – Create seed balls from organic clay.
  • WHO DO YOU WANT TO BE – Using straw, beads, and pipe cleaners participants will be able to create a physical image of who they are or who they want to be.
  • ROCK PAINTING – Paint an uplifting message on a rock.
  • T-SHIRT DESIGN – Design a t-shirt that focuses on raising awareness of dyslexia.
  • Participate in a “What is your WHY” interactive sticky note art wall.  Children will also be able to make a memory box from a small cardboard box, to save notes or small items.
  • Get groovy and move through a fabric design structure and become warriors for the Earth.
  • Create origami birds using various colored and patterned paper.  The birds will be hung from a canopy of tree branches to create a unique room full of birds. 
  • See what your voice sounds like with the Chrome Music Lab Spectrogram.  Participants will walk away with a picture of their voice.
  • And much more! 

Events of Interest 

  • Bill Robison: Strolling entertainment through the whole festival.
  • Roberto the Magnificent: Strolling entertainment through the whole festival.
  • B2wins: June 23 at 6:45 p.m.

  • Des Moines Music Coalition Student Showcase: June 24 at 2:15 p.m.
  • Des Moines Breakerz: June 24 at 3:25 p.m.
  • Des Moines Playhouse – Little Shop of Horrors: June 24 at 12:45 p.m.
  • Central Iowa Music Lab – June 25 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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