Capital City Pride: Everything You Need to Know About PrideFest

Learn all about Des Moines’ LGBTQ+ organization and its annual PrideFest.

Capital City Pride

Capital City Pride is an organization based in Des Moines, Iowa. The organization works to celebrate the diverse identities and orientations of the LGBTQ+ community, fostering a safe and welcome space for all.


Each year, Capital City Pride hosts a pride parade, PrideFest, in Des Moines’ Historic East Village. It takes place during June (pride month), typically during the second week of the month.

The event is free and open to all ages. Spanning across East Village, the fest welcomes a multitude of vendors that sell a variety of food and drink, clothing, and pride-related memorabilia. In addition to the vendors, a parade also runs through the festival. Capital City Pride has floats running through the parade, and individuals can even apply to have their own float in the parade. 


Capital City Pride’s PrideFest highlights notable entertainers within the LGBTQ+ community. Last year, the lineup included drag star Trixie Mattel, percussionist Sheila E., performer Shangela, and music by Leslie and the LYs and Haiku Hands. In addition to the headliners, attendees can enjoy other shows, ranging from comedy to choir. 


Capital City Pride has created specific zones that span across the festival and are curated to the community’s interests and needs. North of E. Locust along 5th St., there is the Health & Wellness Zone. This zone includes health screenings performed by UCS Healthcare, and informational services provided by Planned Parenthood and Polk County Health. The purpose of this zone is to educate and advocate for the physical and mental well-being of the LGBTQ+ community. Going south of E. Locust along 5th St., teens can visit the Teen Zone, which includes activities such as drag queen makeup tutorials, a silent disco, and a selfie station. For the younger children, there is the Family & Kids Zone across Staybridge Suites on East Locust. This zone features a Little Rainbow Kids Run, balloon animal-making, and even a garden workshop. Lastly, at the intersection of E. Locust and 4th St., there is the Pet Zone. In this zone, there are opportunities to adopt pets, a K9 cafe and cooldown, and even “doggy champagne.”

Donations: 500 Loud and Proud

500 Loud and Proud is a donation program put on by Capital City Pride to support the local LGBTQ+ community. Limited to 500 donors, individuals and small businesses can donate anywhere from $500 to $2,000. In return, donors will receive multiple gifts, which can be found here.