On Tuesday night, July 4, 2023 at around 10 p.m., if you were looking towards the night sky for the annual fireworks show over Des Moines, instead you probably something different – an aerial drone show.

This was the first such exhibition over Des Moines, put on with 175 or so drones that made spectacular displays via computer programming – all without explosions, pollution or chemicals raining down into Puget Sound.

Different 3-D displays included:

  • Flying bird
  • Mountain sunrise (or moonrise?)
  • Fish jumping out of water
  • Lighthouse
  • Totem
  • Canoe being paddled
  • Octupus with moving tentacles
  • Flag with fireworks
  • Rotating Star
  • Liberty Bell
  • Statue of Liberty
  • Orca whale
  • Finishing with “Happy 4th Des Moines

The show was produced by KC from Sky Elements, and hundreds of people packed in and around the marina and nearby areas to watch.


Below are photos of the show courtesy David Rosen:

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Here’s video of the full drone show (running time 11-minutes, 46-seconds):

And if you like old-fashioned fireworks that blow up real good, here’s a drone video showing them over South King County, courtesy @SeattleWAGuy:

One reply on “PHOTOS/VIDEO: Drone Show lights up Des Moines skies without fireworks on 4th of July”

  1. Seemingly anticipating disappointment, attendance appeared to be about a 3rd of previous 4th of July shows. My grandkids were not that impressed. The music was droll pop music without a patriotic tune to be heard. Fortunately for those of us in the parking lot, we got a wonderful view of a real firework show from Normandy Park in the background!
    Drones are not environmentally friendly either with all the petroleum products required to make them and the strip mined heavy metals used to make their batteries.
    Though mildly unique, the show was disappointing and I hope the city council doesn’t cave to the environmental do-gooders pressure next year to not have a traditional fireworks display.
    President John Adams said about the 4th of July celebration: “It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations (fireworks) from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.” Oops, sorry President Adams, we messed up on your prescribed method for celebrating the 4th of July this year!

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