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Latino Heritage Festival Showcases Latino Culture as Iowa’s Hispanic Community Grows

2023 Latino Heritage Festival

September 14, 2023

As Iowa’s Latino population grows, so too does the footprint our community’s annual festival.

We are excited to share that Iowa’s Latino Heritage Festival will now encompass an additional block — 13th Street between Locust Street and Grand Avenue — to create an event better experience for festival attendees.

Latino Heritage Festival Dancers

Showcasing Local Latino Community Contributions

This festival is our community’s showcase of our culture through music, art, dance and food. It also educates the greater Des Moines community on the contributions the Latino community have made to our city, state and country.

The 2020 U.S. Census shows us that Iowa’s Hispanic community is growing. We now comprise almost 216,000 Iowans, and we represent 22 countries.

Our festival falls in the middle of Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 and celebrates and highlights our culture, traditions and contributions of our ancestries that trace back to the Caribbean Islands, Central America, Mexico, South America and Spain

Latino Heritage Festival Dancer 

Locally, one way to celebrate is by attending Iowa’s Latino Heritage Festival this year and supporting the Latino community’s small business owners by visiting their booths.

We are excited to bring more offerings. Latino Resources Inc. is the umbrella organization that oversees the festival, but we couldn’t offer this two-day event to the 15,000 people who attend without the help of close to 40 sponsors.

This year’s festival is from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 23 and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 24 in Western Gateway Park, 1330 Grand Ave. in Downtown Des Moines (DSM). Free parking is available in the Nationwide ramp at 1100 Walnut St.

Attendees can taste Latino American foods and experience a variety of entertainment from martial arts performers to folkloric dancers and displays about the history of Latin American cultures. There will be musical entertainment both days, as well as cooking demonstrations of Latino meals.

Latino Heritage Festival  

Cost to attend the festival is $5 for adults; children 12 and younger are free.

For more information, visit latinoheritagefestival.org.

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. Find event information and follow @downtownDSMUSA on Facebook and Instagram for other news, tips and events happening downtown.

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.

Joe Gonzalez

Joe Gonzalez is a retired member of the Des Moines Police Department where he was a 42-year member and a vital liaison in the department's outreach to the Hispanic/Latino community. Gonzalez was a longtime volunteer for Iowa's Latino Heritage Festival before he took over the reins of the festival as the executive director of Latino Resources Inc. in 2014.