Iowa is a culturally diverse state, and many of our towns have held on to their heritage. Every year some of the Hawkeye State’s largest communities gather to celebrate their heritage, and these springtime festivals in Iowa are some of the best events you’ll attend all year.
1. Faces of Siouxland Multicultural Fair, Sioux City, March 31
Siouxland is one of the most diverse regions in Iowa, and Sioux City hosts an annual festival to celebrate! This free event is hosted by the SC Human Rights Commission, and features all sorts of entertainment, from traditional dances to educational crafts. You'll also have a chance to try dozens of ethnic dishes, from soul food, to Indian classics, to asian specialties.
2. Pella's Tulip Time, May 2-4
Every year, Pella comes to life in early May for the world famous Tulip Time celebration. Celebrate the town's Dutch heritage with dancing, crafts, historic house tours, Dutch foods, and the famous Jaarsma Bakery dutch letters. Tulip Time might be the brightest celebration in all of Iowa.
3. Amana Colonies Maifest, May 4-5
Every year, Iowans gather in the Amana Colonies during the first weekend in May for Maifest! This traditional German celebration welcomes spring to the Hawkeye State with music, a parade, entertainment, vendors, tasty German foods, and of course, dancing around the Maipole.
4. Orange City Tulip Festival, May 16-18
Orange City welcomes thousands of visitors for their multi-day spring festival celebrating tulips! Orange City's Tulip Time began in 1936, and for over 75 years, the town's Dutch heritage has been on display during the third weekend in May. Enjoy music, dancing, parades, games and family activities, and plate after plate of tasty Dutch food.
5. Houby Days, Cedar Rapids, May 17-19
Cedar Rapid's Czech Village celebrates history and culture with Houby Days. Houby means "mushroom" in Czech, and you'll kick off the day with an egg-and-houby breakfast. All day long, vendors sell their handmade wares and traditional foods while families enjoy music, carnival rides, and games.
6. Syttende Mai, Decorah, May 17
In Norway, Syttende Mai is a celebration of the day that the country ratified its Constitution, in 1814. Syttende Mai is celebrated in Decorah on May 17, 2019. Nordic dancers, a children's parade, and plenty of family friendly activities. Everyone is invited to march along in the Children's parade, and marchers are given Norwegian flags to wave. The Vesterheim Museum is open for free all day long.
7. TivoliFest, Elk Horn, May 25th-27th
Head to Elk Horn during Memorial Day Weekend for the most unique festival around. This Danish celebration includes folk dancers, fireworks, live music, tours of the Danish windmill, and the tastiest Danish food you've ever tried. The photo above shows Skaldborg Vikings in front of the VikingHjem at TivoliFest.
8. Juneteeth, Cedar Rapids, June 14-15
Juneteenth is an important holiday celebrating the end of slavery in America. Even after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued on January 1, 1863, many slave owners kept the news from their captives, and it took until June 19th, 1865, for many of the last kept slaves to be freed. Since then, Juneteeth has been a celebration of the men and women who persevered through one of the darkest periods in American history. Cedar Rapids is home to the largest Juneteenth celebration in the state, and you'll find vendors, entertainment, games, and traditions on display. The first day of the festival is held at the African American Museum of Iowa, and the second day is held at Viola Gibson Park.