Ferris Wheel

There’s no excuse to be bored in the heartland, especially during the summertime. To make it easy for you to discover a delightful diversion, we’ve compiled a list of Iowa summer events, celebrations, and activities. Enjoy!

Field of Dreams

June 15: 30th Anniversary Celebration
Like a good ball player, you’ll need to hustle to catch it: A celebration of the film’s 30th anniversary happens on June 15. But if you drop the ball on that one, you can visit the Field of Dreams in Dyersville, Iowa, all summer long. Don’t bother looking for Ty Cobb; he wasn’t invited.

Des Moines Storytellers Project

June 18, August 20
Cool off in a cool venue listening to cool stories. Your Iowa friends and neighbors will take the Hoyt Sherman Place stage and tell true tales centered around a common theme. Get more facts and Storytellers tickets.

Des Moines Arts Festival

June 28–30
One of the world’s most respected art events, this year’s Des Moines Arts Festival will host 180 of America’s top talents. You’ll find art to buy, art to watch performed live, art to interact with — it’s just one big arty party.

Downtown Des Moines Farmers’ Market

Every Saturday through October
Sourcing from more than 300 local producers, the Downtown Des Moines Farmers’ Market offers everything you’d want in the way of Iowa-based goodies, including produce, meats, baked goods and even local wines. Many vendors even donate leftover food to charity—how’s that for leaving a good taste in your mouth?


July 21–27
Now in its 47th year, the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa continues its tradition of cycling, camping, and general merriment. Newbie hint: The “tire dip” isn’t an appetizer.

National Balloon Classic

July 26–August 3
Indianola skies come alive with more than 100 hot air balloons that launch every morning and evening at the National Balloon Classic. Their fiery glow against a dark sky is spectacular; anyone saying otherwise is full of hot air.

Italian-American Heritage Festival of Iowa

July 26–27
Food, music, and culture are all celebrated at the Italian-American Heritage Festival of Iowa. Whether you can trace your roots all the way back to the boot or just love a good cannoli, everyone is benvenuto here.

Sidney Iowa Rodeo

July 30–August 3
This ain’t Sidney’s first rodeo. In fact, the Sidney Iowa Rodeo is the state’s oldest continuous outdoor event of its type. America’s best bronc busters have dirtied boots there since 1923. Giddyup.

Iowa State Fair

August 8–18
It’s said that nothing compares to the Iowa State Fair. We agree! From the kickoff parade to the grandstand shows, from the rides to the food (oh, the FOOD), there’s really something for everyone. Just don’t try to eat the butter cow.

Adel Sweet Corn Festival

August 10
It’s the 40th anniversary of this fun-filled event: Join a 5K run at 8 a.m., walk in the parade at 9:30, and then at 11 you can replace the calories you burned with all-you-can eat sweet corn. The 5K registration is $25, but the sweet corn is free. And that’s what really matters.

In the mood for some hot tunes? We’ve got you covered. Check out our list of favorite Iowa’s summer music festivals.