Top Ten Best Festivals in Des Moines area


Festivals in Iowa aren’t just limited to the summer months though you will find more of them during that timeframe. The following are the best festivals in Des Moines to look forward to throughout the year.

  1. Blue Ribbon Bacon FestivalFebruary 18, 10am-5pm-  Tickets for the event sell out in a matter of seconds so if you’re lucky enough to get one, you’ll be able to enjoy the never ending supply of all things bacon. This festival draws 14,000 people from around the world. Each year has a fun theme with 2017’s theme being The Good, The Bad and the Bacon.  Try and compete in one of the many contests they hold including running for Bacon Queen, a dance competition, bacon eating contest, and bacon costume contest. Once you attend this event, you may not want to eat bacon until next year’s festival if ever again.

  2. World Food Festival September 15-17, 11am-10pm- this is the best chance to try foods from around the world at a very cheap price of $1 for tastes and entrees all under $5. They also have live music and cooking demonstrations from local chefs. Beaverdale Confections will have a Chocolate Adventure Tent for children where they can learn about different types of chocolate and make their own chocolate lollipop.

  3. Italian American Heritage Festival July 28-29, 11am-8:30pm– held in the Western Gateway Park downtown, admission to the festival is free before 5PM both days with a food/monetary donation to Iowa Food bank and just $5 for adults/children over 12 after 5PM. Watch the folk dancers as you sample authentic Italian food from local restaurants. Bocce tournaments will be held both days with games just for children on Saturday morning and 4-player tournament on Saturday night.

  4. Iowa Chocolate Festival– TBA- This festival celebrates all things chocolate. They haven’t released much information about this year’s festival other than you can purchase chocolate tickets at a rate of 12 chocolate tickets for $10- each ticket equals one chocolate. There will be chocolate related classes held all day and a crowning of Little Miss and Little Mr. Chocolates. Last year’s festival ended up being cancelled due to some issues with the location so this year’s event hasn’t been decided on for the date or location but it’s safe to assume it won’t be at the Iowa State Fair again.

  5. World Pork ExpoJune 7-9, opens at 8am– 20,000 pork producers help make this one of the biggest pork related trade show in the world. If you were ever curious about the pork industry and the many aspects to it, this is a great learning event for both those in the industry and anyone who happens to be curious about it. There’s activities for the entire family including a Junior National Skillathon Quiz and face painting.

  6. Des Moines Beer Week  June 16-25- hours vary– a celebration of craft beer culture, beer week gives a full week to try local/Iowa breweries. Daily events include organize bike rides, special tappings, and movies.This is a fun and easy way to try locally made craft beers all in one central location. The staff of most of the breweries will be more than happy to talk about their company and help you make the best choice in what you want to try. Consider running in their Run to Exile race as an excuse to drink later on to celebrate participating in the race.

  7. Iowa Latino Heritage Festival  September 23, 10am-11pm and September 24, 10am-6pm– admission is just $5 for adults and $1 for children 12 and under. This festival cultural booths, exhibitors that range from business services to health and social agencies and plenty of food vendors to sample. The festival’s purpose is to make Iowan’s aware of the positive aspects the Latino population brings to the community.

  8. All Iowa Bash–  TBA- held in Valley Junction, this festival celebrates all things Iowa. All of the food, drinks, crafts and music are made from Iowans. Be sure to go to the West Des Moines Independence Parade before the festival to celebrate the 4th of July.

  9. Madison County Covered Bridge FestivalOctober 14-159am-5pm- held in Winterset so you’ll have a little bit of a drive but this festival is perfect for the entire family. Old time demonstrations and tours of the covered bridges are provided as well as a quilt show and car show. This has something for everyone and hopefully the leaves will be turning so you’ll have a beautiful background for your pictures.

  10. KidsFestMarch 3-5, Last year’s event raised $131,000 for Children’s and Families of Iowa which is an organization that helps at-risk families in Iowa. Face painting is provided as well as the chance to meet superheroes like Batman and Spider Man and a couple of Teenage Mutant Turtles. This is a great family event that also helps those in our community who need help with paying for basic needs that they otherwise may have to go without.
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