Explore LGBTQ+ Events and Activities

Annual Events  

pridefestDes Moines Pride Festival
The 44th annual PrideFest will be held June 9 – 11, 2023 in the Historic East Village in Des Moines, Iowa. In 2022, The Des Moines Pride festival welcomed more than 40,000 attendees. To see our Pridefest itineraries, click here.




Pride Walk Des Moines
This annual event goes from the Nomade in the Sculpture Park to the Capital building, via Locust Street. It demonstrates that Pride is a celebration of people coming together in love and friendship. This year’s walk will be on June 1, from 6:30 – 8:30pm.  

Capital City Pride Gala
The annual Pride Gala and Awards Ceremony typically starts with a social hour, followed by a dinner and awards, and entertainment to follow. All proceeds benefit programs for the LGBTQ+ community in the Des Moines area. The theme for the 2023 Gala was the Roaring ‘20s, and the 2024 date will be March 9, 2024.  

Year-Round Activities  

Pride for the LGBTQ+ community goes beyond one month in June. Capital City Pride produces authentic events and activities throughout the year for people to feel safe and welcome under the four pillars of Pride: Community, Education, Family, and Health. By providing access and visibility, they educate. Check the Capital City Pride Events Page for updated dates and even more events.  

Speaker Series
The Speaker Series is Capital City Pride’s primary year-round educational program. From September through May, they invite Central Iowans to listen and learn from 60-90 minute conversations with prominent members of the LGBTQ+ community at the Temple Theater. Speakers are selected for their unique artistic or professional perspectives, personal journeys informed by identity, and contributions to solving contemporary issues LGBTQ+ Iowans face. This series presents the unique opportunity for Iowans to learn from LGBTQ+ change makers and trailblazers in their field, while also providing inspiration and community for those who are facing challenges due to their identity. With focus on outreach and accessibility, this is the program for the coming season: 

  1. September 14, 2023 – Jeffrey Marsh 

  1. October 12, 2023 – Sam Schedler 

  1. January 11, 2024 – Tiq Milan 

  1. February 15, 2024 – Brea Baker 

  1. March 21, 2024 – Alicia Roth Weigel 

  1. April 11, 2024 – Michael Arceneaux 

  1. May 9, 2024 – Anthony Rapp  

LGBTQ Scavenger HuntRainbow Scavenger Hunt
At this family focused event, teams are given clues to find rainbows that are strategically placed throughout the East Village. As each rainbow is discovered, the team uses their cellphone or a camera to take a picture with the rainbow in each spot. Upon finding all the rainbows, participants come to the finish line to get finds certified and score a goodie bag for hard work.



The Pride Book Club 
Capital City Pride Book Club provides a safe space for all members of the LGBTQ+ community and allies to read and discuss LGBTQ+ literature; stories that are not only for us but that are often by us as a community. It is through these stories that we can better understand our rich history. It is through our diverse opinions, individual insights, and interactions with one another that we, as a group, can gain a better understanding of our present and future community. Each month, after our current month’s book discussion, the group nominates the next book for the group to read. All sponsorship donations are used to buy copies of books for participants.

Intergenerational PanelIntergenerational Panel Discussion
Everyone has their own story but what is the experience of being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer like for people of different generations? The LGBTQ+ community is often referred to as a “family,” with the connotation being that it is a supportive, close-knit group of people. However, the analogy is a bit more complex when it comes to another aspect of families: generation gaps. In our own experiences, we can all think of occasions when we have not seen “eye to eye” with family members, colleagues, community members who are either older or younger than ourselves. They just don’t seem to understand, and Capital City Pride created the Generational Panel event to bring together LGBTQ+ identifying people of different ages to explore their similarities and differences.

Varsity Pride
The Varsity Pride is a collaborative initiative with the Varsity Cinema and Capital City Pride to bring LGBTQ+ films to Des Moines. Featured films will be presented every other month and will screen films that may otherwise struggle to find a mainstream audience and help create awareness around LGBT rights as well as for community building among queer communities. 

StorytellersStorytellers Event
At the heart of everything, people care about a great story. This event is a night of first-person stories from Des Moines’ LGBTQ+ community and their allies. Pride Storytellers focuses on intimacy and authenticity. This special event promotes individuals to unlock meaningful, memorable stories to connect people from the Des Moines metro with the LGBTQ+ community, mission, and vision. Capital City Pride is excited to continue this event for 2023 with unexpected stories —some charming, some touching, some funny—from people creating families, creating lives, and creating a city and community culture. It is designed to be brief and heartfelt, and to include the idea that in sharing stories, we feel more willing to invest in our neighbors with our time, our resources, and our hearts.

Queens in the Kitchen
Queens in the Kitchen is an online cooking show with a local or celebrity drag queen that can cook as well as she struts! They share a shopping list online with ingredients and recipes for each show, so viewers can follow along and prepare their own meal at home, like a virtual dinner party! 

rainbow safariRainbow Safari
A family-focused evening hosted at Blank Park Zoo, the Rainbow Safari is an opportunity for the LGBTQ+ community to come together in an inclusive space and spend time enjoying nature and quality time together. It is an amazing evening of animal gazing and feeding, carousel and train riding, eating, and drinking, and general merriment for all! 



Movie Under the Stars
What’s better than coming together to enjoy some good old-fashioned Hollywood magic? Gathering under the stars to watch that show on the big screen! Capital City Pride partnered up with The Science Center to offer a family-friendly screening out on the lawn (with a built-in rain location in their theater just in case Mother Nature doesn’t consider our plans!). Last year’s showing was Disney’s Encanto, to the delight of kids and grown-ups alike!

gag showThe Gag Show
Representation matters. If you want to see it in action, come to Teehee’s Comedy Cub for an all-LGBTQ+ lineup of comedians. Audience members cheer, groan, tear up, and of course laugh along as the stars lit up the stage with their tales of humor in the face of adversity.




Broadway Singalong
Part drag performance, part karaoke show, the Broadway Singalong allows participants to sing along with a live piano accompanist to their favorite showtunes. 

family feudFamily Feud
Capital City Pride built their very own Family Feud game show set and invited the community to join us in our Live Broadcasting studio for Capital City Pride’s own version of America’s favorite game show, “The Family Feud.” The audience watches as two Drag Families compete to name the most popular answers to survey questions in an effort to capture the winning family title.