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Minneapolis Aquatennial returns this month with parade, fireworks

The event runs July 21-24 in downtown Minneapolis.
minneapolis aquatennial

Aquatennial is back this year and will feature some new activities around downtown Minneapolis. 

The City of Minneapolis' annual official civic celebration will be held Wednesday, July 21, through Saturday, July 24, kicking off with some daytime events and the Torchlight Parade on July 21 and concluding with the annual fireworks display on July 24. 

“We are excited to welcome everyone to Aquatennial this summer, as we are leading the way back to enjoying collective urban experiences together,” said Leah Wong, vice president of external relations at the Minneapolis Downtown Council. “Whether it is the CenterPoint Energy Torchlight Parade, Target Fireworks (a top 5 annual display in the country), group fitness activities, shopping local makers, a Twin Cities River Rats show or listening to live music, we know there is something you and yours will love. We can’t wait to see you downtown.”

The event was canceled along with everything else in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (It did offer some online programming.)

The 82nd Aquatennial will be held at various locations in and around downtown Minneapolis, including at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, Peavey Plaza, Midtown Global Market, Mississippi River and Mills Ruin Park. 

"Aquatennial is an annual tradition in Minneapolis, a time that offers fun ways to gather and enjoy outdoor spaces together,” Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board Superintendent Al Bangoura said. “We enjoy having Aquatennial events in our park system each year, and we’re excited to welcome everyone back to enjoy their favorite events again this July."

Here's a look at some of the events (you can see a full schedule here): 

  • Torchlight Parade on Nicollet between 12th Street and 4th Street, 7:30 p.m. on July 21. 
  • Downtown Thursdays on Nicollet and throughout downtown, all day on July 22.
  • Twin Cities River Rats Aquatennial Water Ski Show on the Mississippi River (West River Road between Plymouth and Broadway bridges), 7 p.m. on July 22 and July 23.
  • Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam open house at 1 Portland Ave., 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on July 24. 
  • City of Lakes Market at Chicago Mall on West River Parkway between Guthrie Theater and Mill City Museum, 6-10 p.m. on July 24. 
  • Live music at West River Parkway near Portland Avenue, 6-10 p.m. on July 24. 
  • Fireworks at West River Parkway near Portland Ave., 10 p.m. on July 24.

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