2019 Guide to the Aquatennial

Our partners at the mpls downtown council are here with everything you need to know about The Aquatennial! Get a full run-down of all the events and mark your calendars - you won't want to miss the biggest event of the summer in Minneapolis!
2019 Guide to the Aquatennial | Twin Cities Moms Blog

Join us for another fun summer at the 2019 Minneapolis Aquatennial!

The Minneapolis Aquatennial is the official civic celebration of the City of Minneapolis. Minnesota residents, workers and visitors have come to love and appreciate all that Minneapolis has to offer during the Aquatennial. We invite you to join in as we celebrate our 80th year on July 24-27, 2019.

The Aquatennial features more than two dozen events in four days. They are located on or nearby the Mississippi Riverfront in downtown, celebrating along the banks where our city was born. The close proximity in a jam-packed four-day period offers a walkable and bike-able experience to several different events while you’re there.

The 2019 Aquatennial is book-ended by its two flagship events: The CenterPoint Energy Torchlight Parade on Wednesday, July 24 (8:30-10:30 pm) and the Target Fireworks on Saturday, July 27 (10 pm). In between, you’ll find fun activities and events for all ages and abilities to enjoy. For more information, visit www.aquatennial.com/events.

WEDNESDAY, JULY 24

Aquatennial Blood Drive | IDS Center Crystal Court (80 S. 8th St), 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Go Outside with Hennepin County Lawn Games and Activities | Hennepin County Government Center South Plaza (300 S 6th St), 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

JB Hudson Aquatennial Tailgate Party | JB Hudson Jewelers (901 Nicollet Mall), 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Loring Park Pre-Parade Family Fun Night | Loring Park, 6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Wilderness Inquiry Voyageur Canoe Rides | Loring Park, 6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Twins vs. Yankees | Target Field, 7:00 p.m.

Life Time Torchlight 5K | 2nd Avenue beginning at the Minneapolis Convention Center, 7:30 p.m.

Life Time Torchlight 5K After Party | Boom Island, 7:30 p.m.-10:00 p.m.

CenterPoint Energy Torchlight Parade | 2nd Avenue beginning at the Minneapolis Convention Center, 8:30 p.m.

 

THURSDAY, JULY 25

Nicollet Farmers Market | Nicollet between 6th and 9th St, 6:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Aquatennial Blood Drive | IDS Center Crystal Court (81 S. 8th St), 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Go Outside with Hennepin County Piano Performance | Hennepin County Government Center South Plaza (300 S 6th St), 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Go Outside Trivia Night | Target Field Station, 7:00 p.m.

Twin Cities River Rats Water Ski Show | Mississippi River, West River Road (between Broadway & Plymouth Aves) 7:00 p.m.

 

FRIDAY, JULY 26

Aquatennial Blood Drive | IDS Center Crystal Court (80 S. 8th St), 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Frey’s Fry Throwdown at Aquatennial | Nicollet between 9th and 10th St, 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Alchemy 365 at Aquatennial | Minneapolis Sculpture Garden (726 Vineland Pl), 6:00 p.m.

 

SATURDAY, JULY 27

Loring Park Art Festival | Loring Park, 10:00 AM – 6:00 p.m.

Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam Open House | St. Anthony Falls Lock & Dam (1 Portland Ave), 9:30 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Wilderness Inquiry Voyageur Canoe Rides | Boom Island (724 NE Sibley St), 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Aquatennial Yoga with Core Power Yoga classes | Boom Island (724 NE Sibley St), 9 a.m. – C2/Yoga Sculpt mash-up | 10:15 a.m. – Guided meditation with gentle movement

AquaJam | West River Parkway near Portland Ave., 4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Twin Cities Carifest | West River Road between Plymouth & Broadway, 11:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Aquatennial Ambassador Organization Coronation | U of M Ted Mann Concert Hall, 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Target Fireworks | West River Parkway near Portland Ave, 10:00 p.m.

  • Pre-fireworks festivities | 4:00-10:00pm
  • Live music
  • Family Fun Zone
  • Mpls Craft Market
  • Local craft beer
  • Food Trucks

2019 Guide to the Aquatennial | Twin Cities Moms Blog

Join us for the Aquatennial’s CenterPoint Energy Torchlight Parade, set to take place Wednesday, July 24 at 8:30 p.m. Join the community as they gather and watch great floats, displays and bands march through the heart of downtown Minneapolis. This is CenterPoint Energy’s 19th year being part of the Aquatennial and sponsoring the CenterPoint Energy Torchlight Parade.

We are excited to have Ann Kim and Darwin Quintero as this year’s parade Grand Marshals! As part of our 80th year celebration, Aquatennial is celebrating some of the top stories of the year happening in our community. Ann Kim is an internationally-renown chef here in Minneapolis and owner/chef at Young Joni, Pizzaria Lola and Hello Pizza. She is the 2019 James Beard Award winner for Best Chef Midwest. Darwin Quintero is a star midfielder for Minnesota United FC and will help us celebrate the incredible impact the Loons are having in our community as well as the launch of their new stadium, Allianz Field, which opened this spring.

The 2019 CenterPoint Energy Torchlight Parade will take a new route through downtown—this year’s parade takes place along 2nd Avenue from the Minneapolis Convention Center to 3rd Street.

This year’s parade will again feature K102’s Chris Carr & Company morning show as the emcees, providing entertaining commentary throughout the night. Come down and celebrate on July 24!

If you have any questions about this year’s parade, email [email protected]

2019 Guide to the Aquatennial | Twin Cities Moms Blog

ABOUT THE CENTERPOINT ENERGY TORCHLIGHT PARADE

The Minneapolis Aquatennial CenterPoint Energy Torchlight Parade has been a longstanding Aquatennial tradition. As a flagship Aquatennial event, the parade continues to grow. The CenterPoint Energy Torchlight Parade is the largest nighttime parade in Minnesota. We’re excited to see you at this year’s event!

HOW TO GET HERE

Join us for the CenterPoint Energy Torchlight Parade, located along 2nd Avenue. Find your spot to sit between 12th Street and 3rd Street. The floats will begin at the Minneapolis Convention Center and run to 3rd Street.

The closest parking garages are located at IDS Center and City Center, and Metro Transit services the area through Light Rail Transit (Green Line to and from St. Paul, Blue Line to and from MSP International Airport/Mall of America) as well as bus routes connecting across the metro area. For more information, visit www.aquatennial.com/torchlightparade.

2019 Guide to the Aquatennial | Twin Cities Moms Blog

Join us for the Target Fireworks, set to take place Saturday, July 27, 2019 at 10:00 pm. One of the country’s largest annual fireworks displays. Watch the Target Fireworks light up the Minneapolis sky! Come early for Aquatennial Pre-Fireworks Festivities beginning at 4 pm. This year’s Pre-Fireworks Festivities are bigger and better than ever, highlighted by live music headlined by The Grateful Red, a Ferris wheel, the Family Fun Zone (including a Minnesota Wild inflatable hockey rink, the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers, Angry Birds, prizes, games, face painting, balloon art and more), the Minneapolis Craft Market (50 vendors), local craft beer, food trucks and AquaJam skateboarding right next door.

Viewing Tips

Come early to get your viewing spot—bring sunscreen for the afternoon and bug spray for the evening. The best spots are between Gold Medal Park and the 3rd Avenue Bridge on West River Parkway. It’s not unusual for people to begin staking out their spots along the Mississippi Riverfront in the morning, so to ensure your best viewing location be sure to head downtown with time to spare!

Part of the experience is enjoying the music that accompanies the Target Fireworks, which are choreographed and synced together. This year’s pyro-musical is set to 80s music to celebrate Aquatennial’s 80th anniversary. Learn more about the Target Fireworks below in our “Fast Facts.”

While you’re waiting for the Target Fireworks and the pre-fireworks festivities to begin, don’t miss out on other Aquatennial events that are taking place along the Mississippi Riverfront. Aquatennial Yoga with CorePower Yoga and free Wilderness Inquiry Voyageur Canoe Rides on the Mississippi River will take place at Boom Island beginning at 9 am and 10 am, respectively. The Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam Open house begins at 9:30 am, and Twin Cities Carifest begins at 11 am. Across downtown in Loring Park, the Loring Park Art Festival kicks off at 10 am as well.

While you’re there

Enjoy a show, tour or walk on the Endless Bridge at the Guthrie Theater, learn about Minneapolis’ history at the Mill City Museum, enjoy a morning at the Mill City Farmers Market or a leisurely afternoon at Gold Medal Park. Stop by Stone Arch Bridge and see some of the best views of our downtown skyline. Stop by and see U.S. Bank Stadium up close.

Arriving

The Target Fireworks optimal viewing area is just blocks away from the METRO Light Rail U.S. Bank Stadium station in East Town, which services both the Blue Line from Bloomington and the Green Line from St. Paul. There are also surface and ramp parking locations located off 2nd Street, 4th Street and Chicago Avenue. You can also enjoy Nice Ride bikes located at convenient stations around the downtown area. Click Here to find the most convenient Nice Ride station.

Target Fireworks Fast Facts

  • Typically uses more than 10,000 pounds of explosives
  • The Choreography process for the Target Fireworks takes anywhere from 2 to 4 hours of design time per minute of total show duration
  • One of the top five largest fireworks show in the country
  • Draws around 250,000 spectators to Downtown Minneapolis
  • Come early to find a spot along the river—bring sunscreen for the afternoon and bug spray for the evening. It’s worth it to see a fantastic show!
  • One of the best vantage points to take in the show is on the west side of the Mississippi River, along West River Parkway near Portland Avenue.
  • Zambelli Fireworks is a full service fireworks display and pyrotechnics company.
  • Since 1893 Zambelli Fireworks has been shooting over 2,300 displays annually

Aquatennial Skipper Pins & Promotions

2019 Guide to the Aquatennial | Twin Cities Moms Blog

Each year, the Aquatennial sells Skipper Pins not only to commemorate the year but also to provide promotions and deals to local businesses throughout the downtown area. This year between July 1-July 27, you can enjoy freebies and promotions and a collection of downtown locations by showing your Skipper Pins. The Skipper Pin is $5 and can be purchased at Aquatennial.com. For more information on Skipper Pin promotions, please visit www.aquatennial.com/participate.

New this year: Frey’s Fry Throwdown at Aquatennial

Minneapolis has a celebrated culinary scene, and it also has a mayor with a dynamically delicious name. Why not combine the two? The inaugural Frey’s Fry Throwdown at Aquatennial will combine our city’s food scene with our Official Civic Celebration. Mayor Jacob Frey will help Minneapolis celebrate our famed food scene with a fun event that highlights our city’s creativity. The event will offer a chance for eight Minneapolis restaurants to build a brand new French Fry-centric dish. Celebrity judges will help taste-test these dishes and collectively choose a winner. Participants include Constantine, Crave, Devil’s Advocate, Fulton Taproom Kitchen, The Bird, The Local, The Newsroom and Red Cow. Join us Friday, July 26 from 12-1 pm on Nicollet between 9th and 10th Streets as we enjoy a fun lunch hour taste-testing Frey-tastic creations in downtown Minneapolis!

Loring Park Pre-Parade Family Fun Night

2019 Guide to the Aquatennial | Twin Cities Moms Blog

Loring Park Family Fun Night is a family focused event held just blocks from the CenterPoint Energy Torchlight Parade. Featuring food trucks, free Wilderness Inquiry Voyageur Canoe Rides, free tennis with USTA Northern, plus pony rides, inflatables, kids dance party and carnival games. Find your seat for the parade and bring the family down for some fun! Stop by Loring Park from 6-8:30 pm and enjoy an evening in the park.

Watch some high-flying waterskiing on the Mississippi

2019 Guide to the Aquatennial | Twin Cities Moms Blog

The Twin Cities River Rats are back for another year of incredible high-flying stunts, fast-paced barefooting, graceful swivel skiing, and even human pyramids on the water. Bring beach towels or lawn chairs and enjoy this free water ski show for the whole family along the banks of the Mississippi River – located just south of the Broadway Bridge. The River Rats will be doing their show Thursday, July 25th at 7pm.

This year’s show: Mr. Wonka’s Chocolate Factory

Join the Twin Cities River Rats as they travel through Mr. Wonka’s Chocolate Factory! The nationally ranked Twin Cities River Rats Water Ski Show Team puts on an exciting blend of water skiing, acrobatics and high speed thrills! Join Mr. Wonka, Charlie Bucket, the Oompa Loompas and the lucky golden ticket winners as they take on the adventures of the factory. Join us right on the Mississippi river between the Broadway and Plymouth Avenue bridges.

AquaJam

2019 Guide to the Aquatennial | Twin Cities Moms Blog

Enjoy participating in or watching incredible skateboarding under the Minneapolis skyline at AquaJam! This year’s event will again feature the Spoonbridge & Cherry obstacle and will take place from 4-8 pm. This legacy event, which was wildly popular in the 1980s and 1990s, returned in 2016 and enjoyed huge crowds as people enjoyed a one-of-a-kind skateboarding show. Come out and show your skateboarding skills or join the audience and watch—AquaJam is just steps away from the Pre-Fireworks Festivities. Don’t miss out on a fun afternoon at AquaJam!

2019 Guide to the Aquatennial | Twin Cities Moms Blog

There are several ways to stay fit at Aquatennial! On Wednesday night, you can take part in the Life Time Torchlight 5K, which includes a new route down 2nd Avenue and along the Mississippi Riverfront and culminates with a race an after party (public is welcome!) featuring music and complimentary refreshments. The race starts at 7:30 pm and runs down the same street as the CenterPoint Energy Torchlight Parade, so if you aren’t a runner but would like to cheer them on find your spot along Hennepin early and stay for the parade.

2019 Guide to the Aquatennial | Twin Cities Moms Blog

On Friday, stop by the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden from 6-6:40 pm and enjoy an Alchemy 365 at Aquatennial fitness class. This class is free and open to all abilities, and it offers a unique chance to take a fitness class next to the iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry. Check-in begins at 5:00 pm. No pre-registration required, come early to reserve your spot.

2019 Guide to the Aquatennial | Twin Cities Moms Blog

On Saturday, Aquatennial Yoga with CorePower Yoga takes place at Boom Island. Join the Minneapolis community in celebration of the historic Mississippi river front with an all-levels CorePower Yoga class. Explore our most popular formats C2 + Yoga Sculpt in one class at picturesque Boom Island Park followed by a 30 minute guided meditation. Come for one or both.

2019 Guide to the Aquatennial | Twin Cities Moms Blog

Also at Boom Island, enjoy free Wilderness Inquiry Voyageur Canoe Rides on the Mississippi River from 10 am-5 pm on Saturday.

Volunteer with the Aquatennial

2019 Guide to the Aquatennial | Twin Cities Moms Blog

Each year the Aquatennial continues to thrive thanks to the hundreds of individuals that help out through the Aquatennial Volunteer Program sponsored by U.S. Bank. This year, you can be part of all the fun! Don’t miss out on being part of the Aquatennial Volunteer Program sponsored by U.S. Bank. Take part in events like the CenterPoint Energy Torchlight Parade, Target Fireworks and more.

This annual program offers a chance for individuals or corporate groups to have fun while giving back to your community during Minneapolis’ Official Civic Celebration. Perks include access to the premier viewing area at the Target Fireworks on Saturday, July 27, Skyline Specs sunglasses, a t-shirt and more. The earlier you sign up, the more volunteer times and locations will be available for your team. For more information or to sign up, visit www.aquatennial.com/volunteer.

Give back to the community

The Minneapolis Aquatennial is partnering with the American Red Cross on a Blood Drive taking place Wednesday-Friday from 9 am-3 pm at IDS Center Crystal Court. The Red Cross currently has a severe blood shortage, and summertime always impacts blood donations because people are on vacation, etc. You can stop by and sign up the day of or register in advance online. Visit www.aquatennial.com/events to learn more and to secure your time slot today.

Keep up with Aquatennial as you plan your visit!

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