Here is the entertainment schedule for the Burning Boat Festival, coming to Des Moines Beach Park from 6–9 p.m. on New Year’s Eve (this coming Sunday, Dec. 31, 2023).

This is the second annual fundraiser, this year benefitting children experiencing homelessness in Highline Public Schools.

Guests are invited to write and drop a New Year’s message into a wooden boat, built by a local high school class, which will be burned safely at 9 p.m., sending your messages off into the night.

There will be free parking at the nearby Des Moines Marina.

Come enjoy s’mores, games, entertainment, hot chocolate bar, a beer garden and more.

Entertainment Schedule

On the Auditorium Stage at the Beach Park:

  • 6 p.m.: Clan Gordon Bagpipe Band
  • 6:30 p.m.: Allegro Dance Studio dance performance variety. Ages 5 – 18
  • 7:00 p.m.: Melanie’s Dance Unlimited with dance performance of 25 students.
  • 7:30 p.m.: Brad Topp, local guitar player/singer/song writer with original songs.
  • 8:00 p.m.: Esther Kim, Korean singer/drummer, Northwest Youth Chamber and Choir.
  • 8:30 p.m.: Esther and her assistants will lead the audience in a traditional Korean dance: Ganggangsullae. This spiral dance will lead us outside to the boat before it burns.

Also, all ticket holders will receive a swag bag with luminary kit!

Create your luminary by cutting out shapes at an indoor craft table, then light it up with the LED light in the kit and set it along the path in the meadow at the Beach Park.

What is a Burning Boat Festival?

“Song Wang Chuan “送王船” (lit. “Ship Sendoff to the King” or simply “Boat Burning Festival in Anglophone countries) is a traditional folk festival once held in southern Fujian, Taiwan and other overseas Nanyang Chinese communities in the South China Sea.

Usually in these ceremonies, which were held once very 3 years an ornate ship was burned as a votive offering on behalf of the community.

Boat burning festivals, created as a ritual to ward off disease, began during China’s Song Dynasty (960 to 1276) and became proliferated in the regions of southern China in coastal regions such as Fujian.

These festivals have mostly died out in China but remained in part of southern Taiwanese communities- who were immigrants from Fujian in the century past. These massive ornate ships are built once every 3 years and then paraded before the whole town.”

Get Tickets Here:

Or text BURN to 5355

“Let’s light up the event, Des Moines!!”

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