World Food & Music Festival Returns to Des Moines in September 2021

Kimberly Ritter

The World Food & Music Festival will return to its location in Downtown Des Moines (DSM)'s Western Gateway Park for its 17th year on Sept. 17 – 19, 2021.

Image courtesy of The World Food & Music Festival.

The World Food & Music Festival is making plans to return to Des Moines, Iowa on Friday, Sept. 17 – Sunday, Sept. 19 at Western Gateway Park in Downtown Des Moines (DSM). The Festival features food vendors representing countries and culinary regions from around the world as well as a wide range of headlining bands, activities and more.

World Food & Music Festival is produced by the Greater Des Moines Partnership. The event offers international cuisine, live music and performing arts, cooking demonstrations, interactive programs, wine and craft beers and much more.

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 has 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.

“We are excited to jump into the planning process for this year’s event and look forward to welcoming attendees back to experience a vibrant Festival atmosphere with a global flavor,” said Colleen Murphy, Downtown Events Director for the Greater Des Moines Partnership in a statement. “We will continue to monitor the situation surrounding the pandemic to ensure a safe environment for attendees, and there is plenty of optimism for a vibrant, successful Festival this fall.”

Are you a chef who is interested in showing off your culinary skills to Greater Des Moines (DSM) residents and visitors? The World Food & Music Festival is looking for local, regional and national chefs to present 30-minute demonstrations in the Meredith Culinary Discovery Pavilion during The Festival.

Featured chefs are responsible for describing their recipe and cooking techniques to the visitors, as well as providing food supplies to complete the recipe(s). Basic cooking supplies, electricity, burners, some spices and a gift card to purchase ingredients are provided. In return for your participation, The Festival will promote your appearance (with name and business included) in the printed program and website. Featured chefs can distribute printed materials (business cards, pamphlets, etc.) during the demonstration.

Looking to participate in the festival in ways other than cooking? The World Food & Music Festival is currently seeking volunteers, entertainment and vendors. Sign up to volunteer, be a vendor or apply to be a part of the festival's music & entertainment lineup! To participate, Visit the Get Involved page for more information.

Food vendor applications are also now open for the 2021 Festival. Food vendors that are interested in applying can find more information on The Festival’s website.

The Festival will monitor COVID-19 regulations in the months preceding the event. Official Festival protocols and procedures regarding COVID-19 protocal for the event will be announced at a later date.

Keep up to date and learn more details about the The World Food & Music Festival as they are announced in coming months at

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