Iowa Craft Brew Festival

Labor Day Weekend Events 2023

Toast to a three-day holiday weekend (with an ice-cold beer, of course). Labor Day weekend in Iowa is brimming with fun-filled family activities–check out these nine.

Bi-Annual Cedar Ridge 0.5K Race


If work-life balance is on your goals list for Labor Day weekend in Iowa, Cedar Ridge Distillery’s Bi-Annual Car Ridge 0.5K Race in Swisher is for you. Presented by Bagger Vodka, the race begins with Bagger Vodka Bloodies and screwdrivers. Once en route to the finish line, which is 545 yards, runners can enjoy stops along the way to wet their whistles. Cross the finish line to a build-your-own breakfast taco station with scrambled eggs, breakfast potatoes, smoked pork shoulder, sweet corn salsa and more. The race takes place on Monday, Sept. 4, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and tickets start at $57. Must be 21-plus.

Dayton Rodeo


Celebrate decades of tradition at the 86th Annual Labor Day Rodeo at the Dayton Rodeo Arena. Expect to watch heart-thrilling barrel racing, bull riding, tie-down roping, sheep scramble, mutton bustin’ and steer wrestling. Friday night is military appreciation night, and guests are encouraged to wear red. Tickets start at $20 for adults, children 6 to 11 are $10, and under 6 are free. Doors open at 7 p.m., Sept. 1 to Sept. 3, and at 1:30 p.m., Sept. 4. 

Adventureland Park

Adventureland Park Kids Fest


The all-new Kids Fest at Adventureland Park in Altoona provides a fun-filled Labor Day weekend in Iowa. The two-day celebration is packed with live music, savory and sweet treats, rides, and meet-and-greets with fun, loveable characters. On Saturday, Sept. 2, enjoy performances by The Little Mermen Disney Tribute and USAF Raptor Band, and on Sunday, Sept. 3, entertainment by The Dad Bods. Activities available on both days include Ben Ullin’s Glow Show, Dance Lessons by KC Elite, mermaid meet-and-greets and the bubble pit. Single-day tickets start at $44.99.

Madrid Annual Labor Day Celebration


Get in the local Labor Day weekend spirit at the Madrid Annual Labor Day Celebration, a family-friendly weekend filled with festivities. Kicking off Friday, Sept. 1, in the evening with Country Night and performances by Jordan Beem and Tank Anthony. Water fights with the Madrid Fire Department are on Saturday, Sept. 2, at 11 a.m. and in the evening enjoy performances by Redd Hott and Kissin Time at Veteran’s Square. On Sunday, Sept. 3, enjoy the Madrid Car Show during the day, followed by a movie in the park at dusk showing the classic film “Little Giant” and more entertainment in Veteran’s Square. On Monday, Sept. 4, enjoy the parade at 10 a.m., followed by the 51st Annual Madrid Lion’s Club Chicken Barbecue.
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Essex Labor Day Celebration


Follow the yellow brick road…no, not to Kansas. Essex’s Labor Day Weekend theme this year is “There’s No Place Like Essex.” Festivities kick off Friday, Sept. 1, with a ribbon cutting at the Essex Opera House, followed by a beer garden opening at Essex Derby Track for MWA Pro Wrestling and Street Dance at Garrison’s Pub & Grub. Saturday, Sept. 2 will welcome guests to a fun-filled day including an 11 a.m. corn hole tournament, a noon chocolate chip cookie contest and a 7 p.m. extreme bull-riding tour, mutton bustin’ and barrel racing. Sunday, Sept. 3, event highlights include Sunday Funday with inflatables, games and pony rides, and a golf cart parade while Labor Day’s must-attend attractions are an 8 a.m. tractor show and a 2 p.m. parade. 
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beer patio Iowa Craft Brew Festival

Iowa Craft Beer Bash 


Close out the summer with a pint, two or a few at the Iowa Craft Beer Bash at Millstream Brewing Company in Amana on Sunday, Sept. 3, from noon to 4 p.m. Sample from over 50 local breweries and enjoy live music by Exit 185 and DTKK Polka Band. In between sips, enjoy food truck bites from Beast & Bird, Moys Food From the Streets and Millstream Brau Haus. VIP admission is $62 and includes early admission and special aged Millstream Brewing Co. tastings. General admission is $46. The event supports Families Helping Families and the Iowa Brewers Guild. 

The Renaissance Faire at Sleepy Hollow 

Des Moines

For an enchanting Labor Day weekend in Iowa filled with merriment and wonder, look no further than the Renaissance Faire at Sleepy Hollow in Des Moines. From Saturday, Sept. 2, through Monday, Sept. 4, Celtic Ceilidh will celebrate three days of all things Celtic, including dance, culture and Highland Games. Interact with street characters, stage performers, and enjoy performances at any of the nine stages on the grounds. Attending in costume is encouraged, but not required. Open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., rain or shine. 

Island Fever Showcase 

Clear Lake

Forget San Francisco. If Jimmy Buffet had heard of the Island Fever Showcase before writing “Come Monday,” the lyrics may sound a little more like “Headin’ out to Clear Lake for the Labor Day weekend show.” Island Fever Showcase is a two-day music festival featuring award-winning Trop-Rock musicians, bands and artists at Surf Ballroom. Single-day tickets start at $80, two-day general admission starts at $140 and VIP at $195. Proceeds benefit the Music Enrichment Center, a nonprofit organization devoted to providing cultural and educational opportunities to people who reside in North Iowa.

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