This is the 72nd year for the Minneapolis Aquatennial! What is the purpose of this celebration you may ask – well, it is to celebrate all the water in Minneapolis – lakes, streams and rivers. The event is always held in the 3rd week of July and has some 70 different scheduled activities many of which are found on the water or the beaches.
One of the more important activities is to select the Aquatennial Queen and her 2 princesses which will then be crowned in a coronation service on July 22nd. The queen and her princesses are at all of the Aquatennial events and for the next year they will travel around the state, country and world to participate in other festivals.
A big highlight of the Aquatennial is the milk carton boat race. Contestants build boats using sealed empty milk cartons for flotation. Originally this was more of a fun kids project but over the years it has grown into a serious competition of design and speed with many adult participants. Many of the boats have themes but the main challenge is to keep them afloat. The race is at Lake Calhoun on July 17th this year.
Another popular event is the Sand Castle contest. This event is also held at Lake Calhoun on Sunday, July 17th this year. Come on down to the lake to see what creative castles are being built.
One of the aquatennial favorites is, of course, the torch light parade – always on Wed night. The parade starts at 8:30 pm and is on Hennepin Avenue between Dunwoody and 5th Street. This is one of the most popular events so be sure to get down there early to get a good viewing spot!
There are numerous activities at different times throughout the week such as tennis tournaments, water skiing shows, beach volleyball museum exhibits, events for seniors and so much more. Check the website for a calendar of the events.
The Aquatennial ends with a huge fireworks display on Sat night July 23rd. These fireworks are at least as big as the 4th of July celebration fireworks and they send the Aquatennial off with a definite bang!