Best Buddies Friendship Walk: Central Iowa

Let's change the world for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD)

May 11, 2024

11:00 AM | Des Moines, IA


Thank You!

Thank you for participating in this year’s Friendship Walk! Because of your amazing efforts, we were able to raise vital funds and awareness to sustain and expand our local Best Buddies programs. We look forward to seeing you at next year’s event. With your support, our mission of friendship and inclusion is stronger than ever!

The Best Buddies Friendship Walk is the leading event in the country supporting inclusion for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).

Join 50,000 participants at 70+ Walks across the globe to support the Best Buddies programs in schools, workplaces, and communities. You’ll be making the world more welcoming to people with IDD — one friendship, one job, and one life-changing connection at a time.

Important Event Information:

Walk YOUR Way. New for 2024!

  • 11AM-12PM Check-in and registration
  • 11AM-2PM Food and all activities open
  • 12PM Welcoming Ceremonies featuring Chad Taylor from 95KGGO
  • 12:30PM- Group Picture at the Walk Start Line Archway
  • 12:30PM-2:00PM Walk Route open for all attendees  


  • Volunteers Needed!
    Interested in volunteering at the Friendship Walk? Please email Ted Rives at

  • Join us for the 2024 Best Buddies Iowa Friendship Walk!  We look forward to seeing you at the Steer N’ Stein on the Iowa State Fairgrounds campus on Saturday, May 11th.

  • All attendees MUST register for the event. Advance registration is strongly encouraged. There will be QR codes posted at the event so you can register or donate straight from your phone.

  • Every registered walker who raises $50 or more qualifies for a 2024 Friendship Walk T-shirt! If you raised $50.00 before 4/11/24 your shirt will be available on the day of the event. For individuals who raise $50 past the cut-off date, post-event shirt delivery will be coordinated.

  • The Friendship Walk route is less than half a mile long and will be clearly marked on the Midway behind the Steer N’ Stein.  It is fully paved and can be walked, rolled, skipped, hopped, jumped or strolled!

  • A full buffet style lunch is provided free of charge for all registered attendees from the Steer N’ Stein and includes:
    • Hot Dogs
    • Hamburgers/Cheeseburgers
    • Smoked pulled pork
    • Baked Beans
    • Cole Slaw
    • Chips
    • George The Chili King Chili
    • Gluten free/ Vegetarian options
    • Fountain Drinks are Coke Products

  • Alcoholic beverages will be available for purchase at the Steer N’ Stein.

  • Enjoy all the complimentary activities provided. These include:
    • Face painting provided by the Artspot on 25th
    • Mini nail salon with Piggy Paint Nail Polish
    • 360  Camera from Capture Photo Booth
    • Button making
    • Press-on tattoos
    • Petting zoo courtesy of Meyer Petting Zoo and Beaver Hustlers 4H Club, sponsored by Jill Brown and Family
    • Heavy machinery from J Pettiecord
    • Fire Trucks from DMFD
    • Carnival games

  •  This event will be hosted rain or shine, so please come prepared with sunscreen or umbrellas! In the event of inclement weather, Best Buddies Iowa reserves the right to consider event cancellation. No rain date will be scheduled.

Parking Information:

Parking is free. Parking will be along E Grand avenue along both the North and South sides. (Main drag of the Fair)

Accessibility Statement:

This event is wheelchair-accessible and accessible parking is available. Portions of this event will include loud sounds and music. There will be live farm animals at the petting zoo such as goats, pigs, chickens, mini bulls, mini-horses and sheep.


Saturday, May 11, 2024
Check In /Registration: 11:00 AM
Opening Ceremonies: 12:00 PM
Walk Begins: 12:30 PM
Celebrate Until: 2:00 PM
Partying continues at the Steer N’ Stein until 2pm

Free Lunch provided by the Steer & Stein. Alcoholic Beverages by purchase.


Iowa State Fairgrounds
3000 E Grand Ave
Des Moines IA 50317

Event Contact

Six Best Buddies Friendship Walk Participants. They are outside on a sunny day wearing black t-shirts that say Inclusion Without Limits.

Mission Movers – Top Fundraisers

Going the extra mile for Best Buddies.

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BBFW Trophy
2024 participant t-shirt banner

2024 Fundraising Incentives

2024 Friendship Walk Incentive 150
2024 Friendship Walk Incentive 250
2024 Friendship Walk Incentive 500
2024 Friendship Walk Incentive 750
2024 Friendship Walk Incentive 1000
2024 Friendship Walk Incentive 1500
2024 Friendship Walk Incentive 2500
2024 Friendship Walk Incentive 5000


Be part of Best Buddies’ global movement of inclusion.


Every dollar raised directly supports local Best Buddies programs.


See the Best Buddies mission in action on event day.

Best Buddies Logo

Supporting Local Programs

Funds raised through the Friendship Walk benefits Best Buddies – the largest organization dedicated to ending the social, physical and economic isolation of the 200 million people worldwide with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Our programs empower people with IDD to form meaningful friendships with their peers, secure jobs, improve communication and advocacy skills, and live independently, while also offering support for their families.

The IDD community that Best Buddies serves individuals with IDD and their families. The IDD community includes, but is not limited to, people with Down syndrome, autism, Fragile X, Williams syndrome, and other undiagnosed disabilities.

We Love Our Sponsors!

Title Sponsor

Presenting Sponsor

Additional Sponsors

Sammons logo
Steer and stein logo
scheels logo
mercedes logo
great southern bank logo
volkswagen log
mi fiber logo
hyvee logo
christian brothers logo
Acura of Johnston Sponsor Logo
Audi of Des Moines Sponsor Logo
GuideOne Insurance Sponsor Logo
Honda Sponsor Logo
Nissan Sponsor Logo
Ramsey Mazda Sponsor Logo
Ramsey Subaru Sponsor Logo

For sponsorship opportunities and other event inquiries, please contact:

Best Buddies in Iowa
7518 Hickman Rd.
Des Moines, IA 50324

Frequently Asked Questions

Every person who raises $50 or more will receive the official Best Buddies Friendship Walk t-shirt on walk day. It’s our way of saying thank you for supporting a more inclusive world and going the extra mile! Want to make sure you receive this year’s shirt? Get registered and start fundraising today!

First, thank you for bringing the whole family to support Best Buddies! As a family, you are raising funds as a collective unit (e.g. The SmithFamily) instead of as individuals, so the collective amount you’ve raised will be used to determine how many shirts you’ll receive on event day — the same “one t-shirt earned per $50 raised” still applies for family registrants.

For example: If you registered your family of 4 and you have $200 raised on your family page, each of you will receive a t-shirt when you arrive on event day!

First things first: Thank you! Your donation will count toward your child’s fundraising total, so they will be the one who earns the t-shirt. Want to make sure you receive one? Register to walk alongside them, make a donation of $50 or more, and the shirt is all yours on walk day!

We do! Simply bring it with you to the walk or contact your local Best Buddies office. Online donations are the easiest and safest, most secure way to give to Best Buddies, but either way — you’re making a difference!

Absolutely! Volunteers are vital to the success of the Friendship Walk, whether it’s assisting with event planning, day-of support, and more. Want to sign up to volunteer? Contact your local Best Buddies staff member — scroll up on the page one section to find more information!

Service animals are always welcome at the Friendship Walk! However, the allowance of other pets depends on the specific venue. For more information regarding bringing non-service animals, please reach out to your local Best Buddies staff member.

Best Buddies does not sell, share, or rent personal information collected through our website’s registration or donation forms. For more information, visit

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