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Annual Events

Des Moines, IA offers year-round events for people visiting or living in the area. Below we’re going to share a few of our favorite annual events that you must check out! Read on to learn about the best festivals and events that Des Moines has to offer.

Drake Relays – The Drake Relays are held every April in Des Moines and bring together world-class athletes to compete in one of the top track and field events in the United States.  In addition to being one of the best track and field events, the Relays serve as a second homecoming for Drake University and visitors can attend the downtown block party and visit other community events such as student street painting.

Des Moines Arts Festival – The ‘DMAF’ started out as a small ‘art in the park’ event drawing a few hundred people, but has since grown to hosting over 200,000 people every year.  It is the largest arts festival in Iowa and is held every June. Bring the family to enjoy events for all ages and view some spectacular art from across the country.

CelebrAsian – Celebrate Asian culture at CelebrAsian and taste eastern cuisines, and experience art and music. Each May CelebrAsian unites Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander communities all across Iowa. Experience over a dozen Asian Villages where you can enjoy authentic asian food, educational activities, and live cultural entertainment! Don’t miss out on the largest Asian American event in Iowa, showcasing cultural exhibits, history, food, performance artists, sports, martial arts, and family-friendly activities.

Ciao! Italian-American Heritage Festival of Iowa – Western Gateway Park in downtown Des Moines is the location of the Italian-American Heritage Festival in June every year. Offering fun for the entire family, it features entertainment, education, contests, heritage displays, a childrens park and………!

Downtown Farmer’s Market – Held every Saturday in May thru October, this farmer’s market in the Historic Court District is rated #2 in the nation by Daily Meal and is a must see if you are in the area. Hundreds of vendors from over 50 Iowa counties come to this market to show off their produce, art, and entertain the crowds with live music.

515 Alive – Water Works Park in Des Moines hosts this dance music festival in August. A popular event for EDM music fans, this festival also features some of the hottest contemporary hip hop talent as well.

World Food & Music Festival –September brings the World Food & Music Festival to Pappajohn Sculpture Park in Des Moines. The event offers international cuisine, live music and cultural dance, cooking demonstrations, wine and craft beers, making it one of the best festivals that Iowa has to offer. But don’t take our word for it, this festival was named “Best Food and Beverage Program” by the International Festivals and Events Association.