The second annual Burning Boat Festival – this year raising funds for students experiencing homelessness in Highline Public Schools – will be held this Sunday night, Dec. 31, 2023 from 6–9 p.m. at Des Moines Beach Park.

Tickets Available Online Here
Or text BURN to 5355

“Our mission is to enhance the quality of life in Des Moines by funding services for people in need with an emphasis on intervention and prevention,” organizers said.

The 2023 Benefactor will be the Highline Schools Foundation’s efforts to support children experiencing homelessness.

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 (i.e.: letting go of something, or wishes for 2024, etc.) 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.

The first event – held on New Year’s Eve 2022 – raised $22,035, which was presented to Valley Cities to fund mental health and substance use recovery in our community.

Volunteers will be wearing WHITE beanies, and will be happy to answer questions or direct you.

Restrooms are located in the Dining Hall and Auditorium.

And NEW this year – The Waterland Blog Beer Garden (must be 21 to enter) – we’ll see ya there!

Download the full program here.



Performance Schedule

Auditorium Stage:

  • 6:00 p.m.: Clan Gordon Bag Pipe Band. Clan Gordon will start marching from outside in the meadow into the Auditorium led by Pipe Major Tina Hamrick. Clan Gordon invites you to their 58th annual Tartan Ball Saturday, March 25th 6pm – 1pm. Tickets and info at
  • 6:30 p.m.: Allegro Dance Studio of Kent
  • 7:00 p.m.: Melanie’s Dance Unlimited
  • 7:30 p.m.: Brad Topp Acoustic Guitar
  • 8:00 p.m.: Esther and Yong Kim of the NW Korean Art Center & NW Youth Chamber Orchestra and Choir, Traditional Korean singing and drum music with Esther and Yong Kim performing: Arirang, Jeongseon Arirang, and Jindo Arirang. The NW Youth Chamber and Choir under the direction of Abigail Sung will perform: In His Holy Temple and Ganggangsullae. As their finale, Esther will lead the audience in the traditional Ganggangsullae folk dance which will lead us outside to the boat just before it burns at 9 p.m.
  • 9:00 p.m.: The burning of the boat!

Dining Hall:

  • Allegro Performing Arts Academy has been in the Kent community for 28 years! Our performance and competition team loves to be involved in local events and share their love of dance with others. Our team consists of ages 5-18 that train in a variety of styles of dance! We hope you enjoy their performance and please visit if you want to learn more.
  • Join us for 25 adorable little dancers training at Melanie’s Dance Unlimited of Normandy Park. Melanie’s Dance Unlimited has been creating PNW Dancers since 1980. For more information about Melanie’s Dance Unlimited dance school, visit
  • Local guitar player, singer and songwriter Brad Topp has performed throughout the United States for over 60 years. Brad was given a recording opportunity by Apple Records (the Beatles’ record label) but turned it down to focus on his young family. He has performed in local rock bands including Morning Rain, the Vandals, and BBJ and the Deacons. Welcome Brad as he performs original blues, praise music, and feel good tunes.
  • 6:15 – 8:45 p.m.: Martin Green Duo will perform two 45-minute sets of acoustic music at The Waterland Blog Beer Garden/Hot Chocolate Bar area.

Merchandise for Sale


  • Youth T-shirts (black): $25
  • Adult Hoodies (black): $40
  • Adult Hoodies (grey from 2022): $30
  • Adult T-shirts (white from 2022): $15
  • Grey beanies: $15
  • Flashing accessories: $3 (Glasses or headbands: cat, cow, unicorn, rabbit, or floral)
  • Campfire mugs (teal or cream): $10 (Includes hot chocolate, coffee, or tea. Whipped cream, marshmallows, and fruity marshmallows available.)
  • Raffle Tickets: $5 each or 5 for $20
  • S’mores 4-pack: $20

** Raffle tickets are for sale in the Auditorium, Dining Hall, and by our roaming volunteers in white beanies and flashing accessories.

** View Raffle items and drop your raffle tickets into the corresponding box for the items you would like in the Auditorium.

** Raffle drawing will be held in the Auditorium at 7:50 p.m.

** Must be present to win

Be the Fire Starter!

Be the Belle of the Ball this New Year’s Eve as you, assisted by South King Fire, ignite the hand-made wooden Boat and all of our New Years Messages. Say Good-bye to 2023 with a truly unique experience for you and only you (more info here).

Thanks Sponsors!

$1,000 Commodore Level:

  • Edward Jones office of Doug Jones
  • Des Moines Police Guild
  • Key Bank and Paul Schmidt, Manager of Des Moines Branch Marina Mercantile
  • Rotary Club of Des Moines and Normandy Park
  • The Waterland Blog/South King Media

$500 Captain Level:

  • Des Moines City Council Hearts and Minds Fund
  • Molen Oral and Implant Surgery
  • Scott and Bonnie Wilkins

$250 Skipper Level:

  • ABC Grocery
  • Columbia Bank
  • Dr. Ben Dorantes, Des Moines Dental Center
  • Facilities Maintenance Contractors
  • The Godfather
  • Tricia and Matt Johnson

Thank you to our generous Supporters, Organizers and Volunteers:

  • Auntie Irene’s
  • College Hunks Moving
  • Branex Feed & Supply
  • Mayor Matt Mahoney
  • Michael Mathias
  • Fred Swanson/Highline Schools Foundation
  • The City of Des Moines
  • South King Fire and Rescue
  • Rochelle Caton
  • Karen Utterback
  • Brad Chaney
  • Paul Schmidt
  • Visit Seattle Southside
  • Annie McGrath
  • Tyson Trudell
  • Melanie’s Dance Unlimited
  • Allegro Dance Studio
  • Brad Topp Youth Chamber and Choir, Abigail Sung
  • The QuarterDeck
  • Susie Novak
  • Cook Family Dentistry
  • Costco Wholesale
  • Lisa Albiar
  • Georgetown Brewing
  • Salon Michelle
  • Keurig
  • Be Yoga Burien
  • Elliott Bay Brewery
  • NW School of Karate
  • 47 Consulting
  • Young Living/Jessica Pingel
  • B and E Meats
  • Marina Mercantile
  • Tom Georg
  • Matthew Cook
  • Ken Thomas
  • Michelle Fawcett
  • Key Bank of Des Moines
  • Scott and Bonnie Wilkins
  • Kim and Steve Egge
  • Julie Boitano
  • Tony Deccio
  • Rick Demere
  • Roger and Linda Lander
  • Carrie and John Wilkinson
  • Dario Vite
  • Debbie Dixon
  • Erin Lee and Steve Singer
  • Barb Berntsen
  • Hannah Cook
  • Leeta Utterback
  • Deb Walker

“Thank you to anyone we may have missed; we could not have done it without the extensive list of Sponsors, Supporters and Volunteers!”

Tickets Available Online Here
Or text BURN to 5355