A FREE Outdoor Performance in the Heart of Downtown DSM
Another summer means another series of FREE outdoor events presented by Des Moines Performing Arts (DMPA). There is something for everyone this year in some of Greater Des Moines’ (DSM’s) most beautiful outdoor venues and parks. And while we’ve already seen the likes of The Bubbler and the start of our Yoga and Dancing on Cowles Commons events, there are still plenty of opportunities to experience family-friendly, multi-generational arts and cultural events.
The next chance to see FREE world-class entertainment right in the heart of Downtown Des Moines (DSM) is SWAY’S Bloom! July 21-23 at Cowles Commons. Bloom! is a colorful, family-friendly and spirited performance that will explore themes of earth and nature, community, transformation, individuality and diversity — all while performers are atop 14-foot-tall poles.
Inspired by the beautiful flowers of the Smoky Mountains, Bloom! features the aerial antics of three highly skilled and equally colorful performers. Accompanied by an original soundtrack by Ania Reynolds, Bloom! celebrates the ephemeral and simultaneously beautiful nature of life. The performance was originally commissioned by Dollywood and made its premiere in April 2022 as part of Dollywood’s Flower & Food Festival.
SWAY is a performing arts company based out of Melbourne, Australia. They design and produce large-scale performances using site-specific installations of their sway-pole apparatuses and unique performance equipment. Their company combines many art forms like theater, dance and circus to create one-of-a-kind, highly visible performances.
SWAY was established by Creative Director Phillip Gleeson and Co-Creative Director and Performer Emily Ryan in January 2021. Before SWAY was born, the two worked together at Strange Fruit, their former performing arts company. Gleeson served as Strange Fruit’s creative director from 2009-2020. He brought his performances to more than 50 countries and to more than 600 international festivals. Ryan has performed around the world for more than 18 years. She has performed with companies like Cirque Du Soleil, Universal Studios and at events including the Superbowl and Eurovision.
There will be nine chances to see SWAY’s Bloom! at Cowles Commons. All performances are FREE and perfect for all ages.
Bloom! Events in Downtown Des Moines
Friday, July 21 – Cowles Commons: 12 p.m., 1:15 p.m., 4:30 p.m.
- Saturday, July 22 – Cowles Commons: 9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m.
- Sunday, July 23 – Cowles Commons: 10 a.m., 12 p.m., 2 p.m.
The Fair Food Friday Food Truck will be at Cowles Commons from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m., on Friday, July 21.
See a full list of our FREE outdoor events here. Be sure to check out the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus and Dan and Claudia Zanes later this summer!
Bindlestiff Family Cirkus Events in DSM
Thursday, Aug. 17 – Fort Des Moines Park, Des Moines: 10 a.m., 12 p.m., 6:30 p.m.
- Friday, Aug. 18 – Centennial Park, Waukee: 5 p.m., 7 p.m.
- Saturday, Aug. 19 – Walker Johnston Park, Urbandale: 10 a.m., 12 p.m., 6:30 p.m.
Since 1995, BINDLESTIFF FAMILY CIRKUS co-founders Stephanie Monseu and Keith Nelson have traveled the world, bringing a unique hybrid of vaudeville, circus and sideshow spectacle to theaters, clubs, colleges and festivals. An evening of jugglers, acrobats, contortionists, plate spinning, sword swallowing, brain twisters and other risk-taking feats set to live music, combine to create an interactive evening of fun for the entire family.
Dan + Claudia Zanes Events
Friday, Sept. 15 – Jamie Hurd Amphitheater, West Des Moines: 6:30 p.m.
- Saturday, Sept. 16 – Doanes Park, Pleasant Hill: 10:30 a.m.
Grammy award-winning children’s performer Dan Zanes and Haitian-American music therapist/jazz vocalist Claudia Zanes have been making music with each other since the day they met in the fall of 2016.
The two decided while sitting at Dan’s kitchen table that afternoon that they would continue singing together and, in the spirit of progress and inclusion, would work with presenters to try and make all their concerts sensory-friendly.
The Greater Des Moines Partnership calendar of events is a one-stop resource for activities taking place throughout the region. Find networking information for Greater Des Moines (DSM) businesses or events specific to Downtown DSM.
Downtown Des Moines (DSM) is a growing, vibrant community that offers the energy, sophistication, housing and attractions of a burgeoning city with a brilliant future. It’s also easy to visit with plentiful and affordable street and ramp parking options.