World Food and Musical Festival in Des Moines, Iowa

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World Food and Musical Festival in Des Moines, Iowa

Des Moines is home to many wonderful festivals, but one of my absolute favorites is the World Food and Music Festival! Now in its 18th year, the festival will take place September 16-18, 2022, from 11 am-10 pm on Friday and Saturday, and 11 am-5 pm on Sunday. Festivities will occur in Western Gateway Park in the beautiful downtown. Admission to the festival is free. 

History of the Festival

The World Food and Music Festival started with a mere two dozen vendors during the first event in October 2005. The inaugural festival occurred in the Historic East Village but has moved locations across the city as the allure of the festival has attracted more and more guests. This year the festival will celebrate its 5th year at its current location in Western Gateway Park. Officials for the festival boast attendance in recent years of 90,000+ guests. 


The food at the World Food and Music Festival is the main attraction and rightfully so. Vendors represent cultural cuisine from multiple countries including, but not limited to Bosnia, Ecuador, Greece, Jamaica, Laos, South Korea, Thailand, Ukraine, Vietnam, and so many more. All vendors offer a $1 taste item which is a great opportunity to try new cuisines from around the world. Vendors also have full portions/dishes available which have historically been in the $3-$5 range.  Several vendors have allergen and dietary-friendly options including dishes that may be dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan, or vegetarian. Find the full list of cuisine offerings for 2022 here. Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages from around the world are also popular attractions.

Can’t Miss Cuisine

During your visit, I’d highly recommend checking out the following can’t-miss cuisine items:

  • Cevapi (Bosnia) at Papillion, Booth 36
  • Gyro and Baklava (Greece) at Greek Flame Foods, Booth 61, or Yanni’s Grill, Booth 18
  • Bubble Tea Smoothies (Laos) at Bubble Tea Kups, Booth 58
  • Steak Bulgogi Rice Bowl (South Korea) at Heart and Seoul, Booth 47
  • BBQ Crab Rangoon (Thailand) at Boba Tea 168, Booth 15

Live Cooking Demonstrations

While you’re at the festival, make sure to stop by the Dotdash Meredith Culinary Discovery Pavilion and enjoy live demonstrations and free samples from local chefs. Learn some trade tips and ask questions about perfecting your own creations at home. Check out the great recipes available for you to try today!


The festival stages and pavilions are home to incredible cultural performances and displays. A naturalization ceremony will kick off festivities on the Prairie Meadows Main Stage on the first day and a variety of performances will follow on that and the Principal Cultural Stage including live music, dance, spoken word/poetry art, bagpipes, and more. Find the full schedule of performances here. Throughout the weekend, guests can enjoy food and entertainment while kicking back on the park lawn. Guests are welcome to bring blankets or lawn chairs.  

Michelle Jarnagin

Michelle Jarnagin

My name is Michelle Jarnagin and I live with my husband Dave and our son Devic in Des Moines. We have two Chihuahuas - Loki and Ollie. I work full time as a social worker and Dave is the stay-at-home parent in our household. Devic is currently in Kindergarten and will be entering 1st Grade this fall. In our free time, our family enjoys walking with the dogs, exploring parks and playgrounds, and visiting bowling/arcade centers. This summer you're likely to find us at the baseball fields for Devic's second season or enjoying one of the many festivals/activities Des Moines has to offer.

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