World Food and Music Festival Kicks Off at Western Gateway Park

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- Food and music from around the world will take over downtown for the thirteenth year in a row.

The World Food and Music Festival will feature food from 25 different countries and culinary regions.

If you want to try and eat your way around the world, each vendor will be offering a $1 taste item.

Kurt Poorman, from Miss Molly’s Jamaican Patty, said one of his favorite things about the festival is sharing his favorite Jamaican dishes with everyone that comes by his tent.

"The interaction with everyone that comes up to the truck is always good, it's always good to see smiles. And you are introducing something, to someone, that they've never tried before. And some people are getting out of their comfort zone," Poorman said.

His featured $1 taste item is half of a Jamaican Beef Patty.

In addition to new food, there are new adventure tents and selfie stations.

Colleen Murphy, the Downtown Community Alliance Downtown Events Director, said you can learn something at each adventure tent.

"There are two different ones that are new. We've had a chocolate adventure tent for the last few years where kids can make chocolate lollipops. We also have now a spice adventure tent where you can see, touch and taste different seasonings. There will be olive oil tastings and paprika classes throughout the weekend. There is a fruit adventure tent as well, where you can try many of these exotic fruits, like dragon fruit," Murphy said.

There are many other things to experience at the festival:

  • The Nationwide Cooking Challenge. Four teams shop at the Downtown Farmers’ Market for their ingredients and then create the top dish.
  • The Meredith Culinary Pavilion host local chefs to showcase their most exotic creations.
  • The Cultural Discovery Pavilion features performances and activities highlighting cultures from across the globe.
  • Walker McGuide is the headliner on Friday night.
  • The Bottle Rockets will take the main stage on Saturday night.
  • 18 other bands and entertainers are scheduled to play throughout the festival.
  • Parking is available at the Nationwide Parking Ramp.

The festival runs from 11 a.m. - 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. on Sunday in Western Gateway Park.

Thursday Des Moines was recognized by the International Festivals & Events Association as an “IFEA World Festival & Event City”.

According to a news release, this award was created as a way for the global festivals and events industry to openly encourage, support, and recognize positive local environments for festivals and events worldwide.

For more information you can check out the World Food and Music Festival website.