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Football, An Asian Celebration and More: 5 Things You Can’t Miss This Week

Five Things to Do

September 8, 2023

You can feel the anticipation of fall in the air throughout Downtown Des Moines (DSM). Whether you choose to head outdoors for a car show near the Pappajohn Sculpture Park, watch the big Iowa/Iowa State football game in a vibrant urban setting or even celebrate Asian culture and heritage with breathtaking Downtown DSM views — you can enjoy the excitement of the fall season just around the corner at these downtown events taking place in the coming week:

Animate! Des Moines

Friday, Sept. 8 – Sunday, Sept. 10 | Iowa Events Center
For three whole days, the Iowa Events Center will be taken over by a storm of cosplayers, animation and anime fandom. GalaxyCon presents a weekend full of entertainment, Q&A sessions, video and table games, panels, costume contests and so much more. Get ready to geek out!

Animate Booth

Touchdown Tailgate

Saturday, Sept. 9 | Cowles Commons
Looking for a fun and family-friendly spot to watch the big game? You’ll find cold beverages from Ricochet and two Jumbotrons for watching the Iowa vs. Iowa State football game. And food trucks will be on-hand to curb your hunger, including General Lee’s Smoke Shack, Lacheles Battle Bus, 2nd Avenue Sandwiches and Sweet Swirls Ice Cream. Plus, music and entertainment will make it a party all day long! BYO chair to sit on, and don’t forget to wear your favorite fan gear. Go team!

Touchdown Tailgate

Concours d’Elegance

Sunday, Sept. 10 | Western Gateway Park
You’ll be wowed by the art and design of both classic and vintage automobiles on display at this free and family-friendly Downtown Des Moines outdoor car show. You’ll find 150 cars exhibited representing 12 automobile classes, plus food vendors, merchandise and activities for all ages. Additional events are taking place for registered automobile owners on both Friday and Saturday — so check the Concours website for further details!

Photo Credit: ©Isenberger Photography

The Ray Way: Asian Culture and Heritage Festival

Tuesday, Sept. 12; Thursday Sept. 14 – Saturday, Sept. 16 | Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden
Find an immersive cultural and historical experience through this event series celebrating Asian heritage and the efforts of Iowa’s former governor, Robert D. Ray, in welcoming Asian refugees to the state. There are numerous events to participate in, such as a tea history lesson and tasting with Red Dragon Herbs & Teas, local and live music, an origami how-to, an art exhibition and kokedama display — to name just a few! The festival all culminates with a final and free celebration on Saturday, Sept. 16 including tastes from cultures represented by the Robert D. Ray Asian Garden.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden

Capital City Pride Presents: Jeffrey Marsh

Thursday, Sept. 14 | Temple Theater
Marsh is a sought-after LGBTQ keynote speaker with a viral presence on TikTok and Instagram, amassing one billion video views. As a nonbinary activist and bestselling author, they wrote “How To Be You” and they are the first nonbinary author to sign a book deal with any “Big 5” publisher worldwide. You’re invited to participate in this important presentation presented by Capital City Pride.

And you might also be interested in the LGBTQ Legacy Leader Awards Celebration, also taking place on Thursday, Sept 14 at The River Center. Check it out!

Looking for even more Downtown events and happenings? Here’s a look at 5 free things to do in Downtown Des Moines during September!

For these upcoming events and more, find tips on Downtown Des Moines (DSM) parking and navigation. For additional upcoming events, visit the Downtown DSM events calendar. Plus, follow @downtownDSMUSA on Instagram for more epic, things-you-just-can’t-miss happening around Downtown.

Greater Des Moines Partnership

DSM USA is the regional identifier for Greater Des Moines (DSM). DSM USA is a bold statement to the world: This is a welcoming, diverse and vibrant community with affordable and accessible amenities for residents and businesses. This regional identifier is the result of significant quantitative and qualitative research. The Partnership will champion the DSM USA message, and encourages its Investors, its more than 6,500 Regional Business Members and DSM USA Ambassadors to help share the region's story with One Voice.