The amazing, shrinking Aquatennial

You hate to see slow, agonizing deaths. A speedy exit is probably the best way to go.

The Minneapolis Aquatennial would appear to be in declining health, especially with today’s announcement that the festival, celebrating the Mississippi River and the lakes, is being cut from 10 days to four, the Star Tribune reports.

But they killed off the one thing that gave the Aquatennial some pizzazz.

The milk carton boat races.

The races started in 1971 as a publicity stunt for Kemp’s.

Most of the events at Lake Calhoun have been axed in the new lineup, which an official with the Downtown Council said will not save it any money.

The sand sculpture competition? History.

Events that will continue are power yoga, a dance party, and the River Rats waterskiing team.

There will also still be a torchlight parade to start the Aquatennial and fireworks to close it.

  • gorpet

    this event is a shadow of what it used to be. It is time to stop the entire event and move on with nothing new.

  • Jack

    Crud! This was the year I was finally going to have time to attend the milk carton race. I’ve been meaning to go for years.

    Guess I’ll be watching You Tube videos of past years now.

  • I’m glad to hear the water-ski show will continue. Those are really fun!

  • tboom

    Milk carton boat races started in 1971 ??? Thought they were going earlier.

    Favorite memory, in 1959 I asked my parents to take me to the Aquatennial to see Captian Kangaroo. Recall the parade with Captian on a bicycle made for three with Mr. Green Jeans and the Dancing Bear (or was it Mr. Moose). I trashed my 5 year old’s sized Captian’s Cap a couple years ago as I was cleaning out Mom’s home, I recall it cost $1.00 (one hundred pennies), outrageously expensive for 1959.

    • Jeff

      Probably Dancing Bear. Mr. Moose was a hand puppet, but the same guy did both characters. Captain Kangaroo was a pretty regular guest at the Aquatennial until the late 1970s when WCCO dropped his show and replaced it with Donahue.

  • tboom

    From Riham Feshir’s article:
    >> The Minneapolis Downtown Council also organizes the Holidazzle events. It converted the winter nightly parade into the Holidazzle Village featuring a European-style market. <> Most of the events at Lake Calhoun have been axed in the new lineup, which an official with the Downtown Council said will not save it any money. <<

    Seems to me, the Holidazzle lesson is that it’s easier to have businesses sell stuff than is to organize a winter parade with all those floats and volunteers. The Aquatennial lesson seems to be that it’s easier to do nothing than it is to do something.

    So is this just new marketing or lazy marketing? Maybe when a city has four professional sports teams, putting effort into lining-up sponsors and volunteers for smaller free events which celebrate our assets is just, well, too much work.