MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minneapolis Aquatennial festival revealed a new rebranding campaign on Monday, and the festival also revealed details of its new paired down schedule.

The ten best days of summer have shrunk down to four and will run July 22 through July 25.

The Aquatennial will still kick off with the classic Torchlight Parade in downtown Minneapolis, and the grand finale will still be Target’s fireworks celebration. But missing from the event schedule are two crowd favorites. There will be no milk carton boat race and no sand castle competition.

The Aquatennial Tennis Classic and River Rats Water Ski show are among the events that will return. New events include a Caribbean festival near the banks of the Mississippi, an evening of Yoga at Target Field Station and a canoe event on the pond in Loring Park.

It’s not clear if that will appease fans mourning the loss of the sand castle competition and the iconic milk carton boat race on Lake Calhoun.

On The Aquatennial’s Facebook page, critics were venting. “Shame on you,” one wrote. Another asked, “Why call it AQUATENNIAL when you have axed most of the water activities?”

The Aquatennial has cut popular events before. Until 1964, the festival’s Aqua Follies drew thousands to the shores of Wirth Lake.

This year’s shortened festival will have all of its events in downtown Minneapolis. In 2001, the Aquatennial was in debt and it was saved from going under by the Minneapolis Downtown Council, which is funded by downtown businesses and now runs the Aquatennial. The council wants the focus of the festival to be on downtown.

“We are excited to be inviting people downtown as part of this,” festival director Leah Wong said. “The events for Aquatennial are focused on downtown and situated along the riverfront.”

Event organizers have unveiled new logos for the festival. The “A” in “Aquatennial” includes an element of the Stone Arch Bridge. The waves under it are meant to signify the Mississippi River, and the star on top of the “A” is supposed to signify Minnesota’s reputation as the Capital of the North.

The new poster for the Aquatennial includes artistic renderings of the iconic Foshay Tower and Grain Belt Brewery sign, along with musical notes and water.

(credit: City of Minneapolis)

(credit: City of Minneapolis)

Click here for more information on this year’s Minneapolis Aquatennial.

Esme Murphy

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