Welcome to the “Best Days of Summer” — the 2011 Minneapolis Aquatennial. Entering its 72nd year, the Aquatennial is the official civic celebration of the city of Minneapolis. Join us in celebrating the City of Lakes during the 2011 Aquatennial.
Wednesday, July 6

coronation 2011 Minneapolis Aquatennial Events

(credit: CBS)

Aquatennial Plaza Tennis Classic:
While the official festival kicks off on July 15, the Aquatennial Plaza Tennis Classic gets things started early.  Many of the best players in the Northern USTA will compete for over $4,000 in prize money in the Tennis Classic which runs on weekdays through July 22.

Location: One Financial Plaza, 2nd Avenue S. and S. 5th Street
Time: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. weekdays

Friday, July 15

Aquatennial Block Party:
The official kick-off to the 2011 Aquatennial and it gets off to a rockin’ start with the Aquatennial Block Party on Nicollet Mall! This year the Aquatennial welcomes Tonic to the Stanley Stage as the headlining band. The Irresistibles featuring Mick Sterling and Tim Mahoney will also perform at this free summer concert tradition.

Location: Nicollet Mall, between 3rd and 4th streets
Time: Aquatennial Happy Hour from 5 p.m. – 6 p.m. with music starting after 6.

Saturday, July 16

Twin Cities River Rats Aquatennial Water Ski Show:
It wouldn’t be the Aquatennial without a few water sports and nobody does it better than the Twin Cities River Rats. The Water Ski Show team will perform an hour-long free show on the Mississippi that is always a crowd pleaser.

Location: West Bank along West River Road
Time: 3 p.m.

Sunday, July 17

Star Tribune Beach Bash:
One of the true “classic” Aquatennial events is the Beach Bash along the shores of Lake Calhoun! Featured events at the Beach Bash include the Centerpoint Energy Sandcastle Competition and the popular Aladdin Milk Carton Boat Races.

Location: Thomas Beach, Lake Calhoun
Time: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Aquatennial Ambassador Organization Candidate Welcome Reception & Reunion:
The Welcome Reception is the first official event of the Queen of the Lakes Scholarship program as fifty young women from around the state gather to crown the next Aquatennial Queen of the Lakes and two Princesses! For more information, contact the Ambassador Organization here.

Location: Marriot City Center, 30 S. 7th St.
Time: 2:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Monday, July 18

Frankenstein, 10 Best Days of The Bakken:
The Bakken celebrates the Minneapolis Aquatennial with 10 special days spotlighting the mysteries of the electrical world. The museum will take on Frankenstein this day. Have breakfast with Frankenstein’s creature and find out what inspired museum founder Earl Bakken to combine electricity and medicine and see live science theater performances featuring a modern day Mary Shelley.

Location: The Bakken Museum, 3537 Zenith Ave. S.
Time: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Tuesday, July 19

block party 2011 Minneapolis Aquatennial Events

(credit: Richard Westley Wong)

Hennepin History Museum’s Historic Aquatennial Exhibit:
For 72 years, the Minneapolis Aquatennial has celebrated the city of Minneapolis. The Hennepin History Museum is hosting an exhibit of festival memorabilia from over the last 72 years. Learn about the broad range of items in the historic Aquatennial collections from this unique exhibition, which includes Coronation items, an ambassador uniform, the eternally interesting clipping books, and much more. The exhibit will be open during the entire run of the 2011 Aquatennial.

Location: Hennepin History Museum, 2303 3rd Ave. S.
Time: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Wednesday, July 20

Meet the Queen of the Lakes Candidates:
Come for free to meet and learn about the young women from across Minnesota vying to become the next Aquatennial Queen of the Lakes. All of the candidates share part of what makes them and their hometowns special. The public is welcome to meet the amazing ladies participating in the Queen of the Lakes Scholarship Program.

Location: Atrium, City Center, 40 S. 7th St.
Time: 12 p.m. – 2 p.m.

Aquatennial Pre-Parade Party at Loring Park:
Join in the family fun with live music from Kidsdance, carnival games, pony rides, inflatable bouncers, balloon animals and face painting at Loring Park.

Location: Loring Park
Time: 5 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Life Time Fitness Torchlight 5K:
This family friendly 5K run strolls in front of thousands of spectators before the CenterPoint Energy Torchlight Parade. More information and registration is available here.

Location: Hennepin Avenue from the Basilica of St. Mary to Nicollet Island
Time: 7:30 p.m.

CenterPoint Energy Torchlight Parade:
The CenterPoint Energy Torchlight Parade will illuminate downtown with bands, floats and fun for all and includes a celebrity Grand Marshall. Come celebrate “Star of the Show” and see one of the biggest parades in Minnesota.

Location: Hennepin Avenue, between the Dunwoody College of Technology & 5th Street
Time: 8:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.

Thursday, July 21

SAA 500 Card Tournament:
Fun is in the cards at this annual tourney open to adults of all ages. Find a partner and join the Aquatennial Senior Alumni for a day of card playing. To register, send in your registration form by July 15. There is a registration fee of $10 per person, which includes lunch and a beverage. Don’t miss out on the raffle and door prizes. For more information, call 612-922-4862.

Location: Ukrainian Event Center, 301 Main St. NE
Time: 10 a.m.

fireworks1 2011 Minneapolis Aquatennial Events

(credit: Richard Westley Wong)

Aquatennial Commodore’s Party:
There’s no better celebration of Aquatennial than the Commodore’s Party. The Commodore and the rest of the Ambassadors spend the summer attending festivals around the state and inviting candidates to participate in the Queen of the Lakes Scholarship Program. To celebrate Minneapolis’ own festival, the Commodore throws a party for Aquatennial members and supporters. To get involved and become a member click here.

Friday, July 22

Senior Alumni Association Coronation Luncheon:
You’re invited to welcome the 2011 Senior Queen, Commodore and court at this tasty event. Tickets are available for $27 and registration is due by July 6. For more information, call 763-557-0627.

Location: Ukrainian Event Center, 301 Main St. NE
Time: 11 a.m.

Aquatennial Ambassador Organization Queen of the Lakes Coronation:
Experience the pageantry and see the crowning of the 2011 Minneapolis Aquatennial Queen of the Lakes and two Aquatennial Princesses. After a week experiencing the City of Minneapolis and the events of the Aquatennial, it’s time to crown the new Aquatennial Ambassadors. Don’t miss “crowning” night of the Minneapolis Aquatennial. For tickets and more information, click here.

Location: Ted Mann Concert Hall, West Bank, University of Minnesota
Time: 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Saturday, July 23

The Salvation Army’s MOST Amazing Race:
This scavenger-hunt across town benefits the Salvation Army’s Bed and Bread Club helping alleviate hunger and homelessness.  For more information and to register, click here.

Location: Various Locations throughout Minneapolis
Time: 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.

The 5th Annual Tour De Camden:
Inspired by the Tour de France, the Shingle Creek Neighborhood Association is pleased to announce the “5th Annual Tour de Camden.” Take a leisurely bike ride through the seven neighborhood Camden community of Minneapolis on the last day of the Minneapolis Aquatennial. This free community ride is designed to have various points of interest and be another great opportunity for neighbors to get to know each other and their neighborhood. Tour de Camden is FREE. Food donations for local food shelf for tornado relief welcome. Register by Wednesday, July 20 and get more information here.

Location: Creekview Park, 5001 Humboldt Ave. N
Time: 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Target Fireworks:
One of the largest annual fireworks shows in the country, the Target Fireworks will light up the Minneapolis sky with a spectacular pyrotechnic display in celebration of the 72nd Aquatennial. Pre-fireworks activities and live music will begin at 6 p.m. along West River Parkway, between Portland Avenue and the 3rd Avenue Bridge. It’s a fitting end to the Minneapolis Aquatennial and a display not to be missed.

Location: West River Parkway along the Mississippi River
Time: 6 p.m. – 10 p.m.

Comments (3)
  1. Jeffery Gauss says:

    A senior bowling tournament and a Card Tournament? What does this have to do with the Aquatennial? This great festival sure has hit rock bottom! Bring back the downtown art show!

    1. Debbie N says:

      Oooh…art show…big deal

  2. David Sprague says:

    Ooood…biggest parade, what a joke. Oh! I forgot, the professional parade planners of the Downtown Business Council & DID team-up to make us think they really know how NOT important they are. Mayor Rybak…fire the entire DID Team, they’re the biggest joke Minneapolis ever created.

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