At the end of June every year, Des Moines hosts a free art festival in the area surrounding the sculpture park downtown. It's an award-winning festival that actually won "best festival in the world" for its budget category last year from the International Festivals & Events Association.
Nationwide opens up its parking garage for free parking, and we also saw dozens of people riding their bicycles to and from the festival. When we arrived, the first thing we saw were the volunteers working to build a Habitat for Humanity house, which will later be transported to its permanent location
We were right by all of the food booths and tents, and Andrew and I hadn't had lunch yet, so we got some vegetarian noodles. We walked a little bit and found kids playing in the "creek" that runs through part of downtown, so we let the kids splash in there while we ate our noodles.
The kids got to color at the Habitat for Humanity tent, and Andrew got them each a dish of ice cream.
After that, we found an interactive art exhibit. The kids got to drizzle paint on a giant bird sculpture that will be finished and hung at the airport later. They worked for a good while on it! After that, they painted 2D birds. Their goal is to get 2,000 painted birds to also hang at the airport with the sculpture.
Oliver & Jo's birds:
When the kids finished their hands-on projects, we let them run around the sculpture park. They enjoyed running up and rolling down the hills and, of course, checking out the sculptures.
We were only there about an hour and a half, but we got to see and do so much! There was a lot we didn't do, too, like the free shuttle tour of public art, listening to live music, and doing some art browsing/shopping. It would be easy to spend all day there, but that's not exactly practical with little kids. They had a great time with everything we chose to do. Our total cost for the day was $16: $8 for the noodles and $8 for two cups of ice cream.