Raccoon River Palooza

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June 8, 2024

8AM - 8PM

Presented By

Highlights from 2023

The Cunningham

Playing at the 2023 Raccoon River Palooza:

Opening Act – Joshua Sinclair

A Des Moines native, Joshua Sinclair has over 20 years of songwriting experience, and with 16 albums in, he is just getting started. He creates exciting and dynamic performances using just a guitar, a microphone, and a loop pedal- his style is reminiscent of a ‘Keith Urban meets Ed Sheeran.’ Sinclair has opened for many bands across the US and has signed multiple record deals. Sinclair provides the musical score to the stories of life with songs that’ll make you laugh, sing along, and raise a cold one in the air.

Fun Fact: Sinclair also was the catalyst for starting up a music therapy program at a local hospital in 2018. Much like the national program, “Musicians on Call,” he wanted to bring that same kind of experience to patients to help make their hospital stay a little bit easier. The program has since expanded over the past 5 years to include other local musicians and offers more opportunities to help those in need.

Headliner Band: Eli Alger & The Fast Horses

Eli Alger

Corn-fed and headstrong, Eli Alger is churning new dirt in an old-school way amidst the Nashville country music scene. The Des Moines Iowa native singer/songwriter was raised both cutting wood for his chores and his teeth playing bars with his eyes set on a bigger stage. With black & white fridge door pictures of his great-grandpa Larry Elmo working stellar crowds sporting overalls and a fiddle, and parents who sang to him since he was in diapers, Alger was constantly exposed to all kinds of music. Ultimately, it was that traditional 90’s country twang that truly resonated. 

“I’m a Des Moines boy, and this will be our very first show in Des Moines in 2023,” said Eli. “I used to play the bars all over town and dreamed of being a headliner for one of the big concerts held in town, Raccoon River Rally always being one in particular. I know we are the new kids on the block in the grand scheme of things, but I will say that we love what we do and work hard to get it right. If you give us a shot, I think you’re just gonna love it.”


A full selection of beers will be available on hand for purchase for those 21 and older. Please bring a valid form of ID. Do not drink and drive. Non-alcoholic beverages will also be available for purchase. 

All patrons, volunteers, and employees are expected to comply fully with all laws (including laws prohibiting the operation of motor vehicles while under the influence of alcohol), and to take safety precautions including arranging for a designated, sober driver. By attending Racoon River Palooza, I agree that any alcoholic beverages I consume are my own choice and responsibility. I agree to drink responsibility. I acknowledge that I alone am responsible for all of my actions resulting from consuming alcohol and the West Des Moines Chamber and City of West Des Moines is in no way responsible.

Cardboard boat races are time honored traditions from across the globe. Yes, it might be a little chilly on October 14, but we are excited to bring this event to West Des Moines and hope that this becomes a tradition and a great way for families, teams, friends and the community to have a blast!  Building a boat is fun, but it does take some creativity, ingenuity, imagination and collaboration. Cardboard materials can be found at your local grocery store, appliance, furniture, hardware or big ‘box’ seller. The more outlandish the boat, the better! Come up with a theme, outrageous costumes are encouraged, and let’s see who is willing to brave the cold and show us what you got.


Awards include:

FASTEST BOAT: First boat to cross the finish line – if we have several entries, we will have several races (heats).

MOST CREATIVE: Awarded by judges based on creativity, showmanship, and team spirit – costumes & props are encouraged!

BEST CORPORATE BOAT: Show your company spirit and let’s see who shines the best!

WEST DES MOINES SPIRIT AWARD: What is the best way to show off how much you love WDM?

TEAM SPIRIT AWARD: What is the team you like best? Maybe it’s the Cubs, Valley Tigers, or your alma matter?

THE TITANIC AWARD: Who’s boat is the most spectacular at sinking!

2023 Boat Race Judges

Photo from the 2021 Raccoon River Rally where the judges enjoyed a photo opportunity and presented a $4,200 check that helps to support the Athene Pedestrian Bridge at Raccoon River Park

Stilwell Junior High students built and raced in the 2021 Raccoon River Rally cardboard boat race. Check out the creativity and fun students and staff experienced by participating in this community event by viewing the video below.

Food Trucks that will be featured at Raccoon River Palooza:



We’re SO excited to bring back some exciting activities for everyone to enjoy!

Here are a few things that you can expect to see on October 14th:

  • Jumbo Slide
  • Mini Golf
  • Build a mini cardboard boat
  • Mascots making an appearance:
    • Valley Tiger
    • Waukee Warrior
    • Waukee Northwest Wolf 
    • TC the UNI Panther
    • Cy the Cardinal from Iowa State
  • Inflatable horse races
  • Jumbo Checkers
  • Sensory booth from Axis Therapy
  • Saaba Circle hula hoops with kids and putting on a fire show
  • Face painting
  •  Annular Solar Eclipse

We are excited to showcase some of the coolest companies and organizations at the Raccoon River Palooza. Business Expo Participants:

Business Expo

Support the Raccoon River Palooza as a volunteer! Sign up by clicking here. All volunteers receive a cowboy hat and food/beverage vouchers at the Rally!

Email info@wdmchamber.org with any questions.

11am-11:45am: Opener First Set

12:15pm-1pm: Opener Second Set

1pm-2:30pm: Boat Racing

2:30pm-3pm: Boat Awards

3pm-4pm: Headliner First Set

4-4:30pm: Sabba Circle Performance

4:30pm-5:30pm Headliner Second Set

5:30pm: Close & Enjoy the remainder of the night

Event details for 2024 coming soon.

Event Sponsors

Presenting Sponsor

Event Partners

Family Fun Zone Sponsor

Event Organizers

The West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce reserves the right to use any photograph or video taken at any event hosted by the WDM Chamber without the expressed written permission of those included within the photograph or video. The West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce may use the photograph or video in publications or other media material produced, used, or contracted by the West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce, including but not limited to websites, social media, e-communications, brochures, invitations, posters, flyers, books, newspapers, magazines, television, etc.

Raccoon River Palooza
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