MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The four best days of summer? That’s the new plan announced Friday for the Aquatennial.

Big changes have been made to the Minneapolis festival.  Instead of 10 days, it will now run for four, and some of the Aquatennial’s most popular beach events have been cut.

In a way, the weather fit the mood on Lake Calhoun Friday when news broke that its banks won’t host a Minneapolis favorite.

In the London house, it was especially hard for some of last year’s sandcastle winners to hear the competition won’t be back.

“It’s a big disappointment,” Annique London said. “We had a ton of fun, learned a lot about building sandcastles and ended up taking third place in our category.”

Parting ways with the Beach Bash also means the Aquatennial will sink the milk carton boat races. Everything else, from the torchlight parade to the fireworks, stays put, packed into four days instead of 10.

After celebrating 75 years last summer, the Downtown Council, which plans the event, decided it was time for a change.

“Change is hard,” said Leah Wong, the Aquatennial’s festival director. “Change comes with mixed reviews.”

The council said it couldn’t squeeze the Beach Bash into the calendar and that participation at Thomas Beach never seemed to grow.

Organizers hope a new schedule will mean more people will attend more events and, at the same time, free up another weekend for Minnesotans who savor their summers.

“How do we make sure we continue to keep the festival relevant and current with the changing landscape of Minneapolis?” Wong asked.

It’s a tradition one Minneapolis family will miss, but not enough to throw in the towel.

“Four days, maybe that’s okay, but canceling this event?” London said. “Let’s wait and see.”

The Minneapolis Downtown Council is also behind changes to Holidazzle.  The group took heat for the new village that took the place of the long-standing parade.  Organizers say the Aquatennial won’t be any cheaper to put on this summer since there will be the same number of events.  New Aquatennial events will be announced soon.  This year’s event will be held from July 22 to 25

For more information about this year’s Aquatennial festivities, check out their website.

 

Liz Collin