What to expect at Tivoli Fest in Elk Horn, Iowa

Tivoli Fest is a Danish-American celebration held every year in Elk Horn, Iowa. The town of approximately 650 is known for being the largest rural concentration of Danish heritage in the United States. The festival is held every year on Memorial Day weekend.

Location: Elk Horn, Iowa

Tivoli Parade

It’s typically held on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend at 11am. Your kids will be fully loaded with candy for days to come.

Visit the only working Danish windmill in the United States

For just a few dollars, take a tour of the 1848 Danish windmill. It’s a crazy story including how it was dismantled, mailed, then reassembled in Elk Horn, Iowa. And then the Danish government created a law forbidding windmills to be sold/exported – so it really is one of a kind.

Viking Encampment

Visit the VikingHjem, located next to the Danish Windmill. During the encampment, you’ll get to see the interior of a Viking home as well as demonstrations involving their blacksmith shop, coin making, rope making, and ax throwing.

Morningstar Chapel

Visit one of the tiniest roadside chapels in Iowa, housed on the grounds at the Danish Windmill.

Mill Entertainment Stage

The stage is active for all of Saturday afternoon following the Tivoli Parade and includes Danish dancing and a variety of music and performers.

Aebleskiver and Medisterpoise at the Elk Horn Firestation

Be sure to stop at the Elk Horn Firehouse for æbleskiver which is basically a pancake ball (but sweeter) that is slightly larger than a golf ball. Photo: Eliza Adam / Flickr


Performers are typically scheduled on Friday and Saturday, both at the Mill Stage and the Vet’s Center.

The Polka Police at the Vet’s Center during Tivoli Fest in Elk Horn, Iowa.

Stroget – Open Air Street Market

Visit the Museum of Danish American

It’s a national museum dedicated to the history of Danish Americans – and it’s open for free during Tivoli. Stop in to learn the stories of Danish immigrants, learn about Denmark, or its most famous export: Legos!


Take in the local shops including:

  • The Kringle Man Pastries with Danish Kringle, letters, Krispies.
  • Norse Horse Tavern
  • Copenhagen Friday: art, fashion, and fun

Tivoli Fireworks

End the day with a fireworks display over the wind will.

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