9 Popular Festivals In Iowa, USA

festivals in iowa

Talking about vacations in the United States, you may find it difficult to decide which destinations to visit first and which ones you can check out later on. Let us tell you straight away that Iowa must be among the top states on your list. Situated between the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, Iowa is well-known for its beautiful landscape, its most prominent feature being the cornfields that can be found scattered throughout the region. You will be visiting top-notch attractions as well. The first landmark that you need to visit is State Capitol Building, a 19th-century building whose golden dome will amaze you. You can find it in Des Moines. It would also be interesting to enjoy a stunning collection of contemporary art at Des Moines Art Center. Moreover, Iowa has been attractive to visitors for its festivals. Keep reading to find out about the popular festivals in Iowa, USA.

1. Nordic Fest

Viking boat
Source: Photo by user rochelle hartman used under CC BY 2.0

Diversity should be celebrated, no matter where you are. In Iowa, there is a festival held to celebrate and appreciate the heritage, history, culture, and food of the Scandinavian countries. This festival is called Nordic Fest. If you are curious about what the Scandinavian heritage is all about or just want to take part in something festive, this is where you should be. The festival is divided into three parts: the opening ceremonies, the arts and crafts center, and the grand parade and fireworks. Attend from the beginning until the end, and you can enjoy Nordic dance and musical performances along with Nordic folk art, sample Nordic cuisine, find Scandinavian-themed wooded figurines, and many more.

Nordic Fest

Address: 507 W Water St, Decorah, IA 52101, USA

Website: Nordic Fest

Takes place: July 23 - 25, 2020

Price: 2 USD

2. Pella Tulip Time

Pella Tulip Time
Source: Photo by user Phil Roeder used under CC BY 2.0

Flowers make our lives more beautiful and colorful, and if you are fond of flowers, especially tulips, then there is no way you can skip Pella Tulip Time in the city of Pella. As soon as you enter, thousands of blooming tulips are ready to welcome you. This festival, though, is not just about tulips. It is also about the celebration and appreciation of Dutch heritage. Expect to get lost in the festival with features such as marching bands, cheese-market demonstrations, parades, Dutch singing and dancing performances, and Dutch fashion shows.

Pella Tulip Time

Address: 507 Franklin St, Pella, IA 50219, USA

Website: Pella Tulip Time

Takes place: May 7 - 9, 2020

Price: 15 USD

3. Des Moines Arts Festival

Des Moines Art Festival 2007
Source: Photo by user Michel Ngilen used under CC BY 2.0

Des Moines Arts Festival is one of the most anticipated events in Iowa, and it takes place annually in downtown Des Moines. The festivity will last for three days, and during this period, you can have fun indulging in live music, artist demonstrations, and performing arts—all are presented by both emerging local artists and professional artists. Do not worry about leaving your stomach empty because there will also be food and beverages.

Des Moines Arts Festival

Address: 700 Locust St, Des Moines, IA 50309, USA

Website: Des Moines Arts Festival

Takes place: June 26 - 28, 2020

4. DubuqueFest Fine Arts Festival

Pieta Brown and Bo Ramsey Dubuquefest 2010
Source: Photo by user Dirk DBQ used under CC BY 2.0

Another festival that is worth visiting is located at Washington Park in downtown Dubuque. Bring all your loved ones with you because this festival is all about having fun with family and friends for three days. Featuring regional artists and artisans, DubuqueFest Fine Arts Festival offers everything related to culture, art, and music.

DubuqueFest Fine Arts Festival

Address: Washington Park & Town Clock Plaza, Dubuque, IA 52001, USA

Website: DubuqueFest Fine Arts Festival

Takes place: May 15 - 17, 2020

Price: Free


Source: Photo by user U.S. Air Force ph... used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

This festival is among the most unique events in Iowa because it is not about culture, dancing, art, and music. It is more about sports and promoting a healthy lifestyle. RAGBRAI stands for Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, and it takes place in many places across the state. This bicycle ride is not about competition. You are welcome to be part of the festival by becoming one of the riders or just a spectator and giving your best support to all the riders.


Address: Varies

Website: RAGBRAI

Takes place: July 19 - 25, 2020

Price: 35 USD

6. Orange City Tulip Festival

Tulip Fest 05
Source: Photo by user Mark Evans used under CC BY-ND 2.0

Another tulip festival that takes place in Iowa, but in a different city, is Orange City Tulip Festival. The festival has entertained visitors from anywhere around the world for more than 75 years. Other than thousands of pretty tulips, you will also love the replica windmills and the Dutch parade. What’s more, you can awaken your taste buds with all the available Dutch delicacies.

Orange City Tulip Festival

Address: 509 8th St SE, Orange City, IA 51041, USA

Website: Orange City Tulip Festival

Takes place: May 14 - 16, 2020

Price: 15 USD

7. Tivoli Fest

The Tivoli Committee had their first meeting of the season last evening with chairman Dustin Petersen leading the...

Posted by Tivoli Fest Elk Horn Iowa on Friday, 1 February 2019

You have already seen a festival that celebrates the Nordic culture and other festivals that embrace Dutch heritage. Now, you will see another festival that celebrates the unique Danish culture and heritage. Welcome to Tivoli Fest, an annual event that takes place every May in Elk Horn’s Danish Villages. Tickle your taste buds by savoring a delectable selection of Danish specialties that include Danish sandwiches, smorrebrod, and medisterpolse. If you have no idea what they are all about, you will know once you enter the festival. There will also be tours that take you to Museum of Danish America and Danish Windmill, among other places. If you like, you can also buy some Danish souvenirs to make your experience even more memorable.

Tivoli Fest

Address: The Whole Town, Elk Horn, IA 51531, USA

Website: Tivoli Fest

Takes place: May 22 - 24, 2020

Price: 12 USD

8. Iowa State Fair

Iowa State Fair (48563129297)
Source: Photo by user Daniel Hartwig used under CC BY 2.0

Iowa State Fair is the largest festival in the state, attracting millions of international and domestic visitors—this should be a compelling enough reason to take part in it. The festival will be held for 11 days, and there will always be something entertaining and amusing to see and enjoy every day—from the competitions and the games to the performances and the dishes.

Iowa State Fair

Address: 3000 East Grand Ave, Des Moines, IA 50317, USA

Website: Iowa State Fair

Takes place: August 13 - 23, 2020

Price: 12 USD

9. North Iowa Band Festival

Posted by North Iowa Band Festival on Thursday, 6 June 2019

Last but not least is North Iowa Band Festival that is hosted annually in memory of Meredith Wilson, a celebrated musician, composer, and author whose hometown is Mason City. There will be plenty of talented musicians and singers that pay tribute to the beautiful melodies arranged by Wilson. In addition, you can also enjoy a community parade. All of these will be free.

North Iowa Band Festival

Address: 9 N Federal Ave, Mason City, IA 50401, USA

Website: North Iowa Band Festival

Takes place: May 21 - 25, 2020

Price: Free

Have fun at Iowa's popular festivals

Throughout the year, as you can see, Iowa hosts numerous festivals, but you do not have to attend them all. You can choose to attend only the top events that are mentioned in this article. On the other hand, you can visit Iowa as many times as you want to be able to experience all of them. You will never be bored because every city in Iowa has its own uniqueness and must-see attractions. Enjoy Iowa and have the most fun vacation!

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Tenissa is a content writer, translator and editor. She enjoys being a globetrotter and has traveled to many countries around the world. So far, her favourite destination is Switzerland. She looks...Read more

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