Top Ten Fall Events in and around Des Moines

Photo courtesy Des Moines Register

Summer isn’t the only season to get to go to events in Des Moines. The following are the best to go to while the weather starts cooling down and before you’ll be cooped up for the winter.


  1. World Food and Music Festival– September 20-22- This is your chance to try foods from around the world at a very reasonable price. All of the vendors featured are Iowa based restaurants who make foods that are authentic to the country they’re representing. $1 tastes at every stand are available to make it cheap and easy to try their food without having to commit to a full serving of it. There’s live entertainment as well as cooking demonstrations to keep you busy when you need a break from eating.

  2. Beaverdale Fall FestivalSeptember 20-21- Beaverdale’s fall festival is one of the best festivals that I have been at in the city and Des Moines has lots of festivals to go to so that’s saying a lot. This festival feels like a small town affair being minutes away from downtown Des Moines. They have live music, a carnival area for the kids to play games and go on carnival rides and plenty of food and drink stands to choose from. The shops in Beaverdale have sidewalk sales with deep discounts on their good. This festival has something for everyone in your family.

  3. Sleepy Hollow Renaissance FaireSeptember 1-3, September 8-9 and September 15-16-  Sleepy Hollow built an entire village to hold their Renaissance faire so you know that they are going to make sure this is going to be an impressive event. They have 12 stages, 40 shops selling unique items and 12 food and drink stands. Watch the jousting knights while you eat a giant turkey leg and feel like you have gone back in time for the afternoon. Yes, Renaissance festivals have gotten a bad rap in the past but this faire is a fun introduction to the Renaissance faire world to those who have never been to one before.

  4. Pufferbilly Days– September 6-8- Pufferbilly days will be celebrating it’s 40th year as Boone’s annual festival.  This festival has a lot of physical activities to do like a 5k/10k race, a bike ride, disc golf tournament and mud volleyball. For those wanting to be less active, there’s a quilt show and bingo.  Try and catch the parade to see the locals showing their hometown pride.  Boone may not be as well known as nearby Ames but their Pufferbilly days are well worth the drive.

  5. AppleFest– September 28- Apple lovers will get the opportunity to indulge in their favorite fruit at this Living History Farms event.  You’ll get the chance to churn a kettle to make apple butter, watch a cooking demonstration, do some apple bowling and eat a variety of apple flavored treats. Admission is the general admission price to Living History Farms plus lunch will be offered for $6.50. Be sure to buy some apples on your way out so you’ll be able to enjoy them at home.

  6. Oktoberfest– September 27-28- If you can’t afford to make the trip to Germany, Des Moines will host it’s own version of Oktoberfest in the Court Avenue District.  Visitors can stop in the Craft Beer Village, stroll down Lederhosen Lane and have lots and lots of beer served in authentic beer steins. Tickets are $10 but advance tickets are available before the event for $7.

  7. Vintage & Made FairSeptember 28-29– The Vintage & Made Fair will be held at the Dallas County fairgrounds in Adel this year and will give visitors the chance to shop for vintage home decor from local and national vendors. There will be live music and food trucks to keep everyone entertained and well fed. Admission is $6 for adults and free for children under age 12.

  8. Madison County Covered Bridge Festival- October 12-13- This year’s theme is Quilted Gems with the concept that every person and place in Madison county are connected through a love of nature and a strong commitment to helping others. Their festival shows they how to live up to their theme by how friendly everyone is and the great amount of effort they put in to make sure everyone has a great time. There’s plenty of food vendors and live entertainment as well as a antique car show to check out. The parade is the most popular event and is being held at 2pm on October 9th at the Winterset high school.  Admission is $2 is for everyone 12 years old and older.

  9. Ar “Boo” Scare– October 19- The Iowa Arboretum in Madrid will be hosting a free and family friendly night in the woods which includes a hike on the “No return hidden trail” and a hayride to the “Valley of darkness”.  Be sure to wear a costume that is easy to move around in since this is going to be an active night for everyone in your family.  Hours for the event are 6pm-8:30pm.  This is a fun way to get some exercise while also enjoying the cooler weather especially after such a hot summer.

  10. Ankeny’s North Pole Village Arts and Craft Show– November 2 Though this isn’t completely a fall event, you’ll still want to make a point of going to it. From 9am-4pm and with over 250 exhibitors selling everything from fine art to homemade candles, this isn’t your ordinary craft show. A shuttle is available for $1 to take you to all 3 of the middle schools the fair is being held at and each will offer a cafeteria that’ll stay open until 8pm.  All money raised goes towards the Ankeny Art center and other local non profits. Make this your first stop for your Christmas shopping this year.


Happy Fall Y’all Burlap Garden Flag $9.99 @



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