About the Festival
World Food & Music Festival is produced by the Greater Des Moines Partnership. The event offers international cuisine, live music and performing arts, cooking demonstrations, wine and craft beers and much more. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, alternative programming was offered in 2020 to celebrate food, music, heritage and culture. In 2021, a traditional Festival format will return, Sept. 17 – 19, for The Festival's 17th year.
The World Food & Music Festival began in October 2004 in the Historic East Village in Downtown Des Moines (DSM). It featured approximately two dozen vendors and welcomed thousands of guests eager to explore the diverse cuisine. The Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines was there from the beginning to support The Festival and provide a solid base from which to grow.
Over the years, The Festival expanded its vendors, programming and entertainment and continued to see more guests enjoying the activities each year. To accommodate the growth, The Festival moved onto the Downtown DSM bridges for several years and in 2017 expanded into its current home in Western Gateway Park. Today, more than 90,000 guests visit The Festival each year to taste, see, hear and experience the many wonders of the World Food & Music Festival.
Love BLOOMS Mural
In 2020 a new mural was created in Downtown DSM through support provided by The Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines. The artwork was selected by a committee of individuals who have contributed to the World Food & Music Festival. These individuals included:
- Joe D'Souza, Festival Event Team Volunteer
- Kristi Idio, Festival Vendor, Lumpia & Co.
- Sanjita Pradhan, Greater Des Moines Partnership
- Vicente Rico, Nationwide
- Bridgett Robinson, The Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines
- Yoko Tanaka, CultureAll Ambassador
The mural, entitled Love Blooms, was created by DSM artist Jenna Brownlee. It features a vibrant floral design overlayed with the word “love” in modern calligraphy. There is duel meaning in the symbolic typography with the letter “O” depicting a globe while the letter “V” is the universal symbol for peace and the letter “v” in sign language. Additionally, each flower represents global diversity in the state of Iowa.
- Bosnia Lily – Bosnia
- Bunchberry – Canada
- Dahlia – Mexico
- Lotus – India
- Plum Blossom – China
- Prairie Rose – State of Iowa
- Protea – South Africa
- Rose – United States of America
Interested in participating? Sign up to volunteer, be a vendor or apply to be a part of the music & entertainment lineup! Visit the Get Involved page for more information.
The World Food & Music Festival's success is due in part to the generosity of its sponsors. For more information, visit the Sponsor page or contact Colleen Murphy, Downtown Events Director.