Where to go for July 4 weekend fireworks shows and other festivities in the Des Moines metro

Isaac Hamlet
Des Moines Register

After a year of pandemic cancellations, July 4 festivities and fireworks are back in central Iowa, with one major exception.

The Des Moines Symphony's Yankee Doodle Pops, usually billed as Iowa's largest annual gathering, with upwards of 100,000 people showing up for music and fireworks on the ground of the state Capitol, will be a virtual, music-only event. But most of the  fireworks shows and other events that were limited or canceled in 2020 have been reinstated for this year's holiday.

Here is a list of Independence Day events in the Des Moines metro for people looking to start the summer with a bang.

More:Know the rules before you celebrate July 4 in the Des Moines metro

More:Looking for fireworks? Here's a statewide map showing all of Iowa's licensed vendors



Guests who visit on July 3 and 4 will be able to cap off their day at Adventureland with a fireworks show at 9:30 p.m.

More information can be found at adventurelandresort.com

  • Where: 3200 Adventureland Drive, Altoona
  • When: 9:30 p.m. July 3 and 4
  • Price: $45-$80. Admission to the park includes the fireworks show

Prairie Meadows

The racino will hold an Independence Day celebration with racing and fireworks on July 3.

  • Where: Prairie Meadows, 1 Prairie Meadows Drive, Altoona
  • When: July 3. Post time is 4 p.m. 
  • Price: Free

Des Moines

Good Guys Car Show's 30th Speedway Motors Heartland Nationals

One of Good Guys Car Show's biggest events of the year is back, with offerings every day of the July 4 weekend. Events include a July 2 Twilight Cruise, a series of autocross events  July 3 and an awards program July 4.

A Fireworks Extravaganza will be held around 9:30 p.m. July 3.

Additional information can be found at good-guys.com

  • Where: Iowa State Fairgrounds, 3000 E. Grand Ave, Des Moines
  • When: July 2-4, with fireworks July 3
  • Price: $10-$25

Yankee Doodle Pops

More about Yankee Doodle Pops 2021:Des Moines Symphony's Yankee Doodle Pops returning July 2, but in virtual form

Though Yankee Doodle Pops is scheduled for Independence Day weekend, the annual fusion of classical music and fireworks will be a virtual event this year.

A concert recorded at Hy-Vee’s Ron Pearson Center in West Des Moines without an in-person audience will be broadcast on Iowa PBS and Iowa Public Radio. This year's show will feature Broadway's Hugh Panaro ("The Phantom of the Opera," "Les Miserables") performing a variety of vocal pieces.

Event organizers have said they are planning to return to an in-person show in 2022.

More information can be found at dmsymphony.org

  • Where: Broadcast via Iowa PBS and Iowa Public Radio 
  • When: 8:30 p.m. July 2, Iowa PBS; noon July 4, Iowa Public Radio; 6 p.m. July 4, Iowa PBS; 11 a.m. July 5, Iowa Public Radio
  • Price: Free


'Home Base Iowa' July 4 fireworks show

The Home Base Iowa Community will partner with the City of Grimes for July 4 fireworks at the Grimes Sports Complex.

Spectators are asked to consider watching from inside their cars or homes if possible to maintain safe social distance.

  • Where: Grimes Sports Complex, 600 S. James St., Grimes
  • When: 10-11 p.m. July 4
  • Price: Free


Celebrate Norwalk: 4th of July weekend

Organized by Norwalk Hometown Pride, Celebrate Norwalk's 4th of July Weekend is a two-day event held July 3 and 4. 

A parade will step off at 10 a.m. July 3 at Norwalk High School and eventually circle back to the intersection of Cherry Street and South Avenue. Festivities will continue at the city park until 3 p.m., with music, vendors, food, games and a beverage garden. Attendees are encouraged to maintain safe social distance and bring their own lawn chairs 

July 4 events begin 7 a.m. at the Norwalk Fire Station, 1100 Chatham Ave., with a breakfast and free-will donation drive-thru. A fireworks show begins at dusk in McAninch Park.

More information is available at norwalkhometownpride.wordpress.com

  • Where: Norwalk High School, 1201 North Ave. (July 3) and McAninch Park, 200 Wright Road  (July 4), Norwalk
  • When: 10 a.m. -p.m. July 3; 7 a.m.-dusk July 4
  • Price: Free

St. Charles

Big Country Bash

More:Big Country Bash is back after 2020 COVID-19 cancellation, bringing line-up of hitmakers, up-and-coming acts to central Iowa

Though the St. Charles music festival was canceled last year due to COVID-19, it returns this year in full force with names like Lee Brice and The Eli Young Band. Both days, July 2 and 3, will be capped off with fireworks at nightfall.

In addition to the performances, the Big Country Bash includes an array of vendors and allows attendees to camp until noon Sunday.

More information is available at bigcountrybash.com

  • Where: Avenue of The Saints Amphitheater & Events Center, 3357 St. Charles Road, St. Charles
  • When: July 2 and 3
  • Price: $65 and up


City of Urbandale celebration

Three days of events are unfolding in Urbandale to celebrate Independence Day.

A carnival and midway open at 3 p.m. July 2, with vendors, bands, games and more.

An Independence Day parade starts at 10 a.m. July 3 near Urbandale's Old City Hall and marches north on 70th Street to Aurora Avenue and west to 82nd Street.

Events continue throughout the weekend and end with a fireworks show at 10 p.m. July 4. The rain date is July 5, also at 10 p.m. 

More information is available at uniquelyurbandale.com

  • Where: Lions Park, 72nd Street and Aurora Avenue, Urbandale
  • When: 3-11 p.m. July 2;  7:30 a.m.-11 p.m. July 3; noon - 11 p.m. July 4
  • Price: Free


City of Waukee celebration

Waukee managed to put on a fireworks show in 2020, though the bulk of its Independence Day celebration was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

For 2021, the celebration returns full force with three days of events starting July 2. A carnival runs noon-10:30 p.m. July 2-4. A pancake breakfast begins at 8 a.m. July 3, followed by a 10:30 a.m. parade from Waukee Middle School to South Middle School. Fireworks are set for 9:30 p.m. July 4.

More information can be found at waukee.org

  • Where: Centennial Park, 1255 Warrior Lane, Waukee
  • When: July 2-4
  • Price: Free


Marketed as an all-ages event, the Waukee fireworks store and performance venue will be hosting two evenings of live music followed by fireworks. Party In The Sky will perform at 6 p.m. July 3 and the Chad Bearden Band at 6:30 p.m. July 4. 

Fireworks are scheduled for both days at 10 p.m. Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs.

  • Where: Boomers, 33240 Ute Ave., Waukee
  • When: 6 - 10 p.m., July 3  and 4 
  • Price: Free

West Des Moines

City of West Des Moines celebration

West Des Moines will hold its annual Independence Day Parade beginning at 6:30 p.m. July 3, starting at Valley West Drive and Ashworth Road and running along Ashworth to Vine Street, 16th Street, Locust Street and 11th Street, then returning to Vine Street and proceeding along Fourth Street to its end at Maple Street. 

It will host its fireworks show around 9:30 p.m. July 4 on the West Des Moines City/School Campus, 4200 Mills Civic Pkwy., rather than at Raccoon River Park where the event has been held in the past.

The city's website notes that the parking lot on the campus will open at 7:30 p.m., but that alcohol and grills are not permitted on the premises.

More information is available at wdm.iowa.gov

  • Where: Various sites
  • When: Parade 6:30 p.m. July 3; fireworks around  9:30 p.m. July 4
  • Price: Free

More:Are fireworks legal where you live? How not to get fined while celebrating the 4th of July

Windsor Heights

Independence Day Spectacular

After a cancellation last year, the Independence Day Spectacular is returning for 2021 with food trucks and fireworks. Attendees are asked to bring their own lawn chairs to Colby Park, where fireworks will begin around 9 p.m.

Where: Colby Park, 6900 School St., Windsor Heights

When: 6-9 p.m. July 3

Price: Free

Isaac Hamlet covers arts, entertainment and culture at the Des Moines Register. Reach him at ihamlet@gannett.com or (319)-600-2124, follow him on Twitter @IsaacHamlet.