Recently listed as one of the top growing cities in the Midwest by the U.S. Census Bureau, Des Moines’ ever-growing list of activities and events make it an ideal Iowa destination. The Capital of Iowa is a hub for culture and learning, and visitors will encounter ample examples at the Des Moines Art Center, Science Center of Iowa, and The State Historical Museum. Travelers will also find that the city is home to a diverse collection of renowned restaurants. A few great locations to sample cuisine include Flying Mango, Centro, and Cheese Bar.
The Coffee & Donut Festival Des Moines has established itself as one of the top early spring culinary events in the area, and it will take place April 7 at the 7 Flags Event Center. Attendees will encounter a celebration of all things donut and coffee complete with samples, contests, games, and more. Coffee and donut producers from around the Des Moines area will compete for Best Coffee and Best Donut contests respectively. Then patrons will be able to vote on People's Choice Awards in both categories. Those in search of competition will love the Donut Eating Contest which has contestants eat as many donuts as they can during a three-minute window. The winner will receive a trophy, prize package, and, of course, bragging rights. Contestants looking for a physical challenge will love the Jelly Donut Wrestling Competition which features two contestants wrestling in a pool full of jelly donuts. Aside from the major competitions, attendees can also participate in a variety of fun games including bag toss, donut dodgeball, donut toss, and more. Make sure not to miss out on the Donuts of Glory Competition, which includes teams of local police officers eating as many donuts as they can in a specified amount of time to raise money for the Iowa C.O.P.S. (Concerns of Police Survivors). We interviewed Event Representative, Tim Ryan, to learn more about this sweet celebration.
RAL: How long has the event been running?
TR: We had our first event in Des Moines last year (April 29th) as well as last year in Omaha (October 14th). This is the 2nd annual in Des Moines.
RAL: How many annual attendees do you draw?
TR: Last year there were around 1,700 attendees. We are expecting 4,000 this year in Des Moines.
RAL: What demographic does your event attract? Children? Families? Couples?
TR: All the above.
RAL: What makes this event unique?
TR: On the surface it’s a celebration of coffee and donuts, but we merge great contests, competitions, entertainment, and community interaction for a unique experience.
RAL: Take me through a day at the event. What can I expect as an attendee?
TR: Activities include:
Best Coffee & Best Donut Competition for Vendors
Donut Queen Contest
Jelly Donut Wrestling
Donuts of Glory (Fundraiser Donut Eating Contest Between Police Departments)
Minute to Win It games
Crazy Donut Creations
Vendors With Coffee and Donut Related Items
Donut Hole – Bags Tournament
RAL: Will there be any guest appearances?
TR: Miss Iowa will be a judge on the Donut Queen judging panel, radio personalities will be hosting some events, local police officers and detectives will be participating in the Donuts of Glory, and respected community leaders will be judges for different contests. Judges for the Best Coffee/Best Donut competition will be: Brian Taylor Carson (food & dining reporter for the Des Moines Register), Cady Colosimo (writer/photographer for Cityview Magazine, Nick Lucs (Des Moines Foodster), Jackie Schmillen (host on the morning show CW Iowa LIVE on local channel 23), and George Fomaro (chef and restaurateur behind some of Des Moines’ most successful eateries).
RAL: What dining options will attendees encounter?
TR: There will be plenty of food from different vendors, and crazy coffee and donut creations including the famous Donut Burger! Every attendee will also get a free trip through the Donut Bar to decorate their own donut and get a free coffee.
RAL: Tell us about the overall atmosphere?
TR: Indoors at Seven Flags Event Center with music, lights, and a full dose of excitement with activites on the main stage all day.
RAL: What can an attendee expect to find for local lodging?
TR: Here is a list of some great local options: Des Lux Hotel, Hotel Renovo, Renaissance Savery Hotel, Hotel Pattee (Perry, IA), Stoney Creek Hotel, The Butler House, The Suites of 800 Locust.
RAL: What does this event mean to the community?
TR: We provide family fun for coffee and donut lovers and a chance to enjoy a festival as an adult while entertaining your kids. It's the ideal opportunity to raise money for good causes.
RAL: Does this drive business to your local economy?
TR: Yes, during the event there is increased foot traffic to local businesses, vendors, and sponsors.
RAL: Does the event support a particular cause in the community?
TR: Yes, we support local charities such as Ruth Harbor, Iowa C.O.P.S (Concerns of Police Survivors), and Love Your Melon. We will also be adding a charity chosen by our Facebook event followers soon.
RAL: Why should people come to your event?
TR: With all the fun activities, you’re guaranteed to have a good time and create tons of memories with friends and family. Between the donut games, contests, and great eats, you'll remember this experience for a lifetime!
For more information about the Coffee & Donut Festival Des Moines, please visit the event website.