Milk carton boats competing in the annual Twin Cities Beach Blast on Sunday are stuck on land this year thanks to high amounts of E. coli in Bde Maka Ska.
The event is held on Bde Maka Ska’s Thomas Beach, with multiple milk carton races for various age groups and a sand castle competition.
Participants in the boat race will be “on-land portage racing” with contestants carrying their boats while on foot.
According to the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, Thomas Beach, as well as North Beach and 32nd Street Beach at Bde Maka Ska are all closed due to elevated E. coli levels.
"We are saddened to be out of the water, but safety comes first," said Beach Blast Executive Director Charlie Casserly.
"We worked with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board to find another site for this iconic Minnesota race, but no other suitable location on any other Minneapolis lake was available."
Thomas Beach and North Beaches were closed due to having five E. coli readings over a 30-day period that exceeded 126 organisms per 100 mL. 32nd Street Beach was much higher at 2076 organisms per 100 mL, closing it automatically.
E. coli closures often happen after heavy rain, with beaches normally opening in 24 to 48 hours, according to the park board, though it's been more than two weeks since the beaches on Bde Maka Ska closed.
All categories for the on-land race will still take place, including adults, teens, kids and media personalities.