Aquatennial Blog | Thursday, July 20


Welcome to the 2016 Aquatennial! This is our Official Civic Celebration, and we’re excited to share it again with you here in Minneapolis for the 77th year. Join us on this fun four-day adventures that will include a combination of food, fitness and fun ranging from flagship events like the CenterPoint Energy Torchlight Parade to the Target Fireworks all the way to new events like Mess Hall, AquaJam and the Big Waters Classic: Fulton Downtown Drag Race. There is something for everyone at this event.

So in order to fully appreciate all the events that are going on, we’re giving you a daily breakdown of all the things you can see and do at the Aquatennial. Sit back and enjoy this recap as we take a look at some of the highlights from a big week in Downtown Minneapolis.


Historic Aquatennial Presented By Cambria

Now in its second year in the Aquatennial lineup, the Historic Aquatennial presented by Cambria is a great way to relive some of the past experiences and looks of the Minneapolis Aquatennial. This event, located in the Cambria on 7th Gallery at 625 2nd Avenue South, highlights some of the sights and sounds of Aquatennial over the past seven decades. We’ve seen a great response to this event as there are many in the state who enjoy taking a look back at what they experienced at Aquatennial in the past throughout its evolution. There are great photos, videos, apparel and costumes, decorations, poster boards with historical context stories, a full Skipper Pin collection, guides and more. This particular event runs Wednesday through Saturday at Cambria, so come in any day and enjoy.


Aquatennial Blood Drive

The Aquatennial is all about bringing the community together and providing a way to give back to our community. That’s why this year the Aquatennial teamed with the American Red Cross, WCCO-TV, WCCO Radio, BUZ’N 102.9 and 104.1 JACK FM to host the Aquatennial Blood Drive this week. It runs Wednesday through Friday from 9 am to 3 pm in the IDS Center Crystal Court.

Donating Blood is important in helping those in need, as the Red Cross—which supplies blood to 2,600 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country—needs 14,000 blood donations each day to keep pace. Right now, there is a major shortage of blood as donations are being used as quickly as they come in. Vacations and summer plans often play a role in keeping people from donating, so any help you can provide is much appreciated.

The Aquatennial Blood Drive continued on Thursday and included a stop by WCCO-TV’s Kim Johnson, who graciously gave blood during the morning in between her newscasts and the morning after participating in the Twin Cities Orthopedics Torchlight 5K. Thank you to all who gave blood, as it truly does make a difference.


Aquatennial Tennis Classic

The Aquatennial Tennis Classic is an annual gathering of some of the top talent in the area vying for $6,500 in prize money. Supported by USTA Northern, they host men’s and women’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles each year. The event is incredibly popular in the summer. Located at Canadian Pacific Plaza, a court is placed outdoors underneath the surrounding skyscrapers and provides a great place to watch tennis while eating your lunch. Food trucks line the nearby street, and a natural tiered gallery area makes for stadium seating while you take your lunch break.

The tournament began July 11 and runs through Friday, July 22. On the second day of Aquatennial, the tournament was working through some of its finals matchups. Results from the day are listed below.

Thursday’s Results

Nicole Copeland/Kevin Whipple def. Helen Klass-Warch/Maalik Konop-DeFrietas 6-2, 6-4

Women’s Singles Championship: Maja Vujic def. Caitlyn Merzbacher 7-5, 5-7, 1-0 (6)

Men’s Singles Championship: Tony Larson def. Tim Larson 6-3, 6-0

Julian Dehn/Tobias Wernet def. Harsh Mankad/Wyatt McCoy 7-6 (4), 6-1

Andres Osorio/Sion Wilkins def. Kevin Whipple/Nick Crossley 6-3, 7-6 (3)

Tooli Wilkins/Nazhone Wilkins def. Jeff Adolf/Kelsey Frechette 6-2, 6-4

Tooli Wilkins/Kelsey Frechette def. Maja Vujic/Aria Lambert 6-4, 6-2

Friday’s Order of Play

9:00 a.m. – Mixed Doubles Final: Tooli Wilkins/Nazhone Wilkins vs. Nicole Copeland/Kevin Whipple

10:30 a.m. – Women’s Doubles Final: Tooli Wilkins/Kelsey Frechette vs. Diana Bukajeva/Brenna Kelly

12:00 p.m. – Men’s Doubles Final: Andres Osorio/Sion Wilkins vs. Julian Dehn/Tobias Wernet

Photo Credit: Kurt Moses Photography

Photo Credit: Kurt Moses Photography

The Commons Grand Opening

The official opening of The Commons in Downtown Minneapolis took place on Thursday from 11:30 am to 1 pm. The Commons is a 4.2-acre green space that adds a whole new dimension of community gathering in the East Town area. The long-awaited opening on Thursday included a huge crowd of spectators that gathered to hear from Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges, Minneapolis City Council Member Jacob Frey, Ryan Companies’ Pat Ryan and Hargreaves Associates’ Mary Margaret Jones. The event included food trucks, a free CorePower Yoga class, free play activities, an Asian Dance Team performance and a commemorative Frisbee toss. The Commons is open to the public and is a great new addition to downtown. Stop by and see it the next time you are in the downtown area.


Photo credit: Kurt Moses Photography

Aquatennial Yoga presented by CorePower Yoga

For the second straight year, CorePower Yoga has teamed with Aquatennial to lead an Aquatennial yoga class at Target Field Station. It’s been a big success each year, and despite the warm temperatures there was another big crowd on hand for this year’s event. Registration began at 4:30 pm, with the fitness class kicking off at 5:30 pm. Participants are encouraged to find a place on the green space at Target Field Station and enjoy a unique opportunity to practice yoga outdoors in the heart of the summer right next to a big league ballpark. Thanks to CorePower Yoga for putting on another incredible event that our Aquatennial goers could enjoy.


Twin Cities River Rats

As always, the Twin Cities River Rats delivered a memorable and entertaining show on the Mississippi River. The River Rats are an annual Aquatennial staple, and they delivered four shows in two days beginning with Thursday’s 6 pm and 8 pm performances on West River Road between the Plymouth and Broadway bridges. This year’s theme was Despicable Ski, the River Rats’ version of Despicable Me, and they showcased a sensational performance on the water as Gru and the Minion battled Vector for super villain supremacy. It was filled with laughs—as usual—and a fun and family-friendly storyline, but it also was jam packed with difficult tricks on the water. This group wins national water skiing awards because they are so good at performing high-flying stunts, including multi-level human pyramids, fast-paced bare footing, graceful swivel skiing and more. The crowds flocked to West River Road for both performances, and this year along with a concession stand they also had Fulton Beer on hand with a designated beer garden. It’s always a great event for the whole family, and this year’s crew did a sensational job. Thanks to the Twin Cities River Rats for another well-done performance.


Photo Credit: Kurt Moses Photography

Aquatennial Movie Night: Overboard

Thursday at Aquatennial wrapped up with the showing of “Overboard”, a family-friendly movie at Target Field Station. People who took part in Aquatennial Yoga presented by CorePower Yoga were encouraged to bring chairs or blankets and stay afterwards for a fun show, and others who weren’t at yoga came and enjoyed the evening as well. The Aquatennial Movie Night was part of the Go Outside with Hennepin County lineup, a collection of dates throughout the summer that encourage friends and family to come out and enjoy an evening of free activities and programming in the heart of downtown.