Events and Festivals Around Greater Des Moines

booth that says french pastries at a farmers market

Greater Des Moines (DSM) entertainment is buzzing.all.year.long. with festivals and events covering all the basics: arts, culture, food and drink, music, sports, holidays, community celebrations and everything in between! (And pro tip, if you’re looking for a great experience AND a way to get connected, many events and festivals are powered by volunteers! Check out an event’s website to see what volunteer roles might need to be filled.) 

Culture, Food and Drink Events In Greater Des Moines

Located smack dab in the middle of the Midwest, DSM’s festivals and events are heavily influenced by a melting pot of culture, fresh-off-the-farm foods plus the varieties of local beer and wine found here. Check out a sampling of what will fill your calendar in DSM:

Food Events In Greater Des Moines

Locals love the Downtown Farmers’ Market every Saturday, May through October, in Downtown Des Moines Historic Court District. It's the go-to Des Moines event where urban-meets-rural, bringing hundreds of local Iowa farmers, producers, artisans and makers together with thousands of marketgoers each week. The Adel Sweet Corn Festival is another favorite food festival, giving off a home-town feel, where visitors enjoy free and tasty farm fresh sweet corn (butter, anyone?). The Harvest Gathering in Earlham and Altoona’s Farm to Table Dinner are unique, only-in-Iowa experiences mixing fresh and seasonal eats with a Main Street community vibe beneath the glow of the setting sun. 

two people drinking from coconuts

Cultural Events in Greater Des Moines

Explore global tastes and entertainment and celebrate communities at cultural festivals in DSM — including World Food & Music Festival, the Latino Heritage Festival and CelebrAsian — each taking place in Downtown Des Moines. Tulip Time, held annually in May, descends on the Pella community along with rich Dutch traditions and celebrations including the famed cleaning of the streets, Dutch dress and tulips (lots and lots of tulips!). Des Moines’ Pride Fest is a celebration of LGBTQ+ inclusivity, bringing together the community with friends, allies and supporters. 

Beer and Wine Festivals in Greater Des Moines

With events taking place throughout the year, WineFest Des Moines offers the best pairings of wine and foodie creations by signature DSM chefs. Oktoberfest festivities have exploded in DSM in recent years with several events taking place in Downtown Des Moines, Norwalk and Altoona

Local Art and Music Events

a crowd in front of a stage at a concert

Recognized as a World Festival and Event City by the International Festivals and Events Association, DSM brings its A-game (that stands for Art!) when it comes to arts, music and outdoor concert events such as: 

Sports and Recreation Events

Marathons? Check. PGA Tour Golf? Check. March Madness watch parties? Yep, DSM has that, too. Check out several sports-centric events that take place in DSM each year: 

More Greater Des Moines Festivals and Events

For more entertainment, check out other DSM events such as the National Balloon Classic and Lake Red Rock Balloon Festival, where locals and visitors can take in the soaring beauty of hot air balloons across the region’s sprawling landscapes. Madison County’s Covered Bridge Festival celebrates the historic covered wooden bridges found in the area (yes, the same setting from the Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep film of the ‘90s). And who could forget the famed Iowa State Fair, drawing more than 1 million people annually and named in the New York Times best-selling travel book 1,000 Places to See Before You Die

Holiday Events Around Greater Des Moines

Celebrate the seasons — all four of them! — with holiday events and happenings around the region. Ranging from St. Patrick’s Day to July 4th and even Santa’s arrival, DSM has got you covered. Take a look at a handful (or two!) of examples: 

DSM Community Celebrations and Events

people twirling flags in a parade

The neighborhoods and suburbs around DSM are rich in community pride! You’ll take away a true sense of place at these hometown celebrations and local festivals: