Looking for something to do? Here's a guide to fun concerts, events and more across central Iowa
2020 entertainment in Iowa was a washout due to the pandemic. There was no State Fair, concerts were canceled left and right and theater shows faced continuous postponements.
While COVID-19 rates are on the uptick again, many area events are still occurring. Here is a selection of some of those forthcoming events.
— Isaac Hamlet, Register entertainment reporter
Explore Downtown Des Moines
An essential guide to the 2021 Downtown Farmers' Market: The Downtown Farmer's Market is a weekend favorite for Iowans and now includes breakfast and food vendors. Review the safety guidelines (voluntary masks, one-way foot traffic) and check out the specials from local restaurants.
Changes to the downtown Des Moines party district: The city turned the core of the Historic Court Avenue district into an entertainment zone for those 21 and up on weekend nights. The new arrangement runs from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
Travel the state
Catch Des Moines releases curated metro travel itineraries: Check out Catch Des Moines' downloadable itineraries called The Catch List. The 14 itineraries curate various local experiences and organize them based on outing type, including "Best of the Burbs," "As Seen on TV" and "Spring Things to Do."
Trip on a Tankful: A new Register series will help you explore Iowa's unique sites, including Old Fort Madison, Shrine of the Grotto of the Redemption in West Bend and the Mahanay Memorial Carillon Tower in Jefferson.
Iowa amusement park fun
Adventureland debuts a new roller coaster - the Dragon Slayer: Adventureland has debuted its new ride- the Dragon Slayer, a 4D free spin coaster from Utah-based S&S Sansei Technologies.
Wet and wild experiences at these Iowa water parks: Here's your summer guide to Iowa's biggest and best water parks for a cool and relaxing summer at places like the Fun-Plex Waterpark & Rides, King's Pointe Waterpark Resort, the Lost Island Waterpark and more. The curated list includes locations and prices.
Eating out again:Here's what's new and changed in Des Moines metro post-pandemic
Hinterland Music Festival 2021: One of Iowa's most prominent musical events, the Hinterland Music Festival, is back. The event is slated for Aug.6-8 near the Madison County village of St. Charles.
Grandstand at the State Fair: Returning on Thursday, Aug. 12, and concluding Sunday, Aug. 22, the Iowa State Fair is back this year. Over the 11 days, about a million people will attend the slew of events and festivities held at 3000 E. Grand Ave.
Grandstand performers Chris Stapleton and Blake Shelton are already limited to standing-room-only tickets.
Ingersoll Live street festival: The 17th Annual Ingersoll Live event is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Aug. 24 at 2800-2900 Ingersoll Ave. The street festival promises to include live music, rides and other family-friendly events.
New Riverview Park amphitheater: The 9,000-capacity Prairie Meadows Riviera Amphitheater at Riverview Park has a busy summer of live music on the banks of the Des Moines River on the city's north side. It will culminate Sept. 4 with the Riverview Music Festival, which is being held instead of the annual two-day 80/35 music festival in downtown Des Moines' Western Gateway Park.
Summerland 2021 tours to Des Moines: Scheduled to make a stop at Wooly's, 504 E. Locust St., at 7 p.m. on Sept. 11 is the Summerland Tour. The mini touring festival has traditionally emphasized 90s nostalgia in its acts. This year the touring performances include the rock bands Everclear, Living Color, Hoobastank and Wheatus.
Theater & Arts in Iowa
"The Gospel at Colonus": Pyramid Theatre Company is going to take the Riviera stage for its first musical for three days starting with a 7:30 p.m. performance on Friday, Sept. 17. "The Gospel at Colonus" is a modern musical retelling of the middle chapter in Sophocles' trilogy of plays focusing on the questions of redemption for the mythical king Oedipus.
Des Moines Community Playhouse revives Summer Tent Theater Series: The Des Moines Community Playhouse revived its old Summer Tent Theater Series to showcase live shows in the Playhouse's parking lot.
Play lovers can witness "Godspell," "Plaza Suite," "Polkadots: The Cool Kids Musical," and "Fae Rides Again" in July and August. The Playhouse has also announced its 2021-2022 season with comedies, romance and childhood classics.
Giant hands, ants, a water balloon battle: Des Moines Performing Arts offers free spectacles this summer: Enjoy free activities at various locations hosted by the Des Moines Performing Arts throughout the summer, such as Yoga on Cowles Common, pop-up performances, movie nights, and concert performances from two-time Grammy Award-winning artist Terrance Simien his Zydeco Experience bandmates, and more.
Isaac Hamlet covers arts, entertainment and culture at the Des Moines Register. Reach him at email@example.com or (319)-600-2124, follow him on Twitter @IsaacHamlet.