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Featured Shows of the Month in Des Moines, June 24-26

The Des Moines Arts Festival features the best visual artists in the country, along with interactive arts-related activities, live music and performing arts. In 2010 this festival was awarded the Grand Pinnacle Award from the International Festivals & Events Assn., beating out the Tournament of Roses, the Kentucky Derby and other international events!

Are you thinking this might be worth the trip?

TIMES:  Friday, June 24 - 11 a.m. - 10 p.m.

       Saturday, June 25 - 10 a.m. - 10 p.m.

Fireworks at 10 p.m.

        Sunday, June 26 - 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

WHERE: Western Gateway Park, Downtown Des Moines

  • Juried Art Fair, 185 artists 
  • Emerging Iowa Artists Program
  • Jazz & Wine Pavilion 
  • Performing Arts Stages & live music 
  • Over 30 Interactive Arts Activities
  • Interrobang Film Festival presented by Nationwide
  • Des Moines Center's Interactive Sculpture Activity

Learn more:

Evening on the downtown streets of Des Moines

Not enough? Want to see more art and artists? Visit:

    ArtFest Midwest 'The Other Art Show'

June 25-26

Iowa State Fairgrounds

Indoors at the air conditioned Varied Industries Bldg.

240 Artists  

Free admission
Affordable, Alternative Show 

Saturday: 10am - 6pm 

Sunday: 10am - 5pm

ArtFest features Iowa and regional artists. Approximately 40% are from Iowa and 90% from the Midwest. ArtFest is offered as an alternative, affordable art show -- a complement to the downtown show.

Bright yellow school buses that will shuttle continually between the Fairgrounds and the Des Moines Arts Festival downtown, approximately a 7-minute trip. Patrons are encouraged to park at one of the spacious lots at the Fairgrounds to visit both shows.

Patrons will enjoy the opportunity to browse through approximately 200 booths of affordable art in air-conditioned comfort.

For more info:


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Comment by Alice Legler on June 23, 2011 at 9:21pm
Wow! This is precisely the kind of information that I've been trying to find!!  I wrote to the downtown festival (after finding it on ZAPP) several times last year (as I had some important questions!), and never could get anyone to answer me.  I was interested in it, because it looks similar in some ways to the Red River Revel Art Festival in Shreveport, Louisiana.........but, I had no idea that there was another show.  And, honestly, IF I had accidentally stumbled across it, I would have been extremely leery... because many alternate shows are absolutely horrible *omg* (VERY bad memories of a satellite show in Brookings, SD, immediately come to mind).  But, after having read these posts, I'm definitely interested in the ArtFest Midwest show, rather than the downtown one; inside in air-conditioning sounds favorable to consuming copious quantities of gatorade, just to stay alive ;)   Thank you so much!!
Comment by Barry Bernstein on June 23, 2011 at 1:39pm
Munks, I'm beginning to prefer the shows that have the least distractions like the one you are talking about.  Which one do you do?  Meredith talked favorable about the Artfest Midwest show, too.
Comment by Victoria L. Herring on June 22, 2011 at 8:41pm
The reason the downtown Festival gets all the press and notice is that the Register is one of the prime sponsors = it promotes it and not the ArtFest MW = Sue does as much as she can and sends us information to do some of our own promotion = it's indoors and that's a real positive.
Comment by Connie Mettler on June 22, 2011 at 8:30pm

Here you go, the big weekend in Des Moines as everything starts getting built around the town. Here is a story from WHOTV:

"You'll find it a little difficult to get around downtown Des Moines the next few days as crews shut down roads around Western Gateway Park to set up for the Des Moines Arts Festival. The three day event gets underway Friday morning. Organizers expect thousands of visitors..." video too,0,1770455.story

Comment by Michael Stephens on June 22, 2011 at 3:14pm
Michael and I will also be at "the other show"  we strolled the downtown show last certainly is first class...would love to get in sometime just to see what we would do there....The "other show"  has first class art also...lots of folks we see from all over the place from the show circuit....Don't know how well Stookey's show is advertised....the downtown show seems to get all the attention.....
Comment by Victoria L. Herring on June 22, 2011 at 10:32am
I'll be at Sue Stookey's ArtFest Midwest - it's well run, indoors [yea! and yay!] and it's not as toney as the downtown show, but provides a good Yin to its Yang.  Both are good shows and there's a shuttle between them so you can enjoy both.  The DSM Festival is in a gorgeous location and I hope to be able to go through it Friday night, after I've finished setting up at the ArtFEst Midwest.

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