Cajun Fest to Return This Summer


Cajun Fest is celebrating National Crawfish Day while ramping up planning for their annual “Mardi Gras of the Midwest” Cajun celebration this summer.

What began as a backyard gathering between Louisiana transplants and Iowa natives, Cajun Fest has grown to bring a taste of Southern comfort to thousands of Midwesterners each year. 

With all you can eat crawfish, local food vendors, live music, interactive entertainment for all ages, specialty drinks, and so much more, all in downtown Des Moines.

“We started Cajun Fest five years ago as a way to celebrate Cajun culture and remind us of home,” said Stephen Smith, Cajun Fest board member and Louisiana native. “The first year we held it, it was a crawfish boil in a park with 100 people. Since then, it’s grown so much; last year we had over 2,000 attendees. Every year we plan for things to be bigger and better and 2024 is no exception — we’re excited for people to see what we’ve been putting together for this year.”

Crawfish for Cajun Fest are imported fresh from Louisiana the day before the event — Smith ensures that the cooks are well-versed in Cajun cooking and deliver authentic, delicious Southern fare. The event is planned and staffed by volunteers who are passionate about
bringing Cajun culture to the Midwest.

Cajun Fest will be held June 22, 2024, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Cowles Commons in downtown Des Moines. Tickets can be bought ahead of time on Cajun Fest’s website or at the gate the day of the event. Tickets come in two options — general admission and VIP.

A general admission ticket includes all day admission, all you can eat crawfish, access to live music and entertainment, access to vendors and more. VIP tickets are also available, which enhance the event experience with fast pass entry, shaded seating, waiting staff, your first drink free, exclusive activities and more. A portion of Cajun Fest’s proceeds are donated to local nonprofit organizations.

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