2019 Aquatennial Blog | Wednesday, July 24

We’re only one day into the 2019 Minneapolis Aquatennial and the 80th celebration is already one to remember.  We got the Aquatennial action kicked off at the IDS Center with the Aquatennial Blood Drive from 9am-3pm.  We’ve already received a substantial amount of donations, with 33 people already donating both their time and their blood to the Red Cross.

Also helping kick off Aquatennial was the Go Outside with Hennepin County South Plaza Activities. While this event runs weekly throughout the summer, this week drew the biggest crowds the Plaza has seen this summer. Joining us at the South Plaza was an Alchemy 365 booth, Midwest Animal Rescue Shelter with four adorable puppies, Underdog Rescue with 6 pups that everyone loved, and Ronald McDonald House with lawn games for all to enjoy.

As the sun went down, the events started to pick up. The evening events were kicked off with the JB Hudson Aquatennial Tailgate Party. This 21+ event showcased demonstrations and thematic drinks that were inspired by JB Hudson’s 130+ year history of being in the heart of downtown Minneapolis. Armed with a drink and snack in their hand, attendees were encouraged to browse the aisles and get in the Aquatennial spirit.

Just down the street from JB Hudson, the Minnesota Twins were battling it out against the New York Yankees. Attendees were excited to be in downtown Minneapolis to cheer on the Twins and experience the city during it  official civic celebration!  

Families were then invited to Loring Park for the Pre-Parade Family Fun Night. Attendees of all ages took part in Wilderness Inquiry Canoe Rides, USTA Northern tennis, pony rides, face painting, and many more activities. The Family Fun Night brought in hundreds of people to downtown Minneapolis for family friendly fun before the CenterPoint Energy Torchlight Parade.

The LifeTime Torchlight 5K then started at 7:30pm with thousands of runners making their way through the new route that showcased the skyline and the Mississippi Riverfront.  The streets of downtown Minneapolis were flooded with competitive and recreational runners ranging from children to elderly, and everything in between. 

As the runners crossed the finish line at Boom Island, they were greeted with beverages, music, activities, and more at the LifeTime Torchlight 5K After Party. The After Party was open to the public this year, so those cheering the 5K runners on along the route were able to celebrate their finish with them! As the sun set over the Minneapolis skyline, atteendees were able to celebrate the beginning of the 80th Aquatennial.

The Grand Finale of an outstanding first day of events was the CenterPoint Energy Torchlight Parade. Minnesota’s largest nighttime parade brought in thousands of people from all over Minnesota to downtown Minneapolis. With over 90 floats making their way down the parade route while interacting with the crowd, dancing, and marching, parade-goers witnessed the perfect wrap to the first day of the 2019 Aquatennial. We celebrated the evening with grand marshals Darwin Quintero of Minnesota United FC and Ann Kim, owner/chef of Young Joni, Pizzeria Lola and Hello Pizza and the 2019 James Beard Award winner for Best Chef Midwest. This year’s CenterPoint Energy Torchlight Parade and Life Time Torchlight 5K took place on 2nd Avenue and kicked off at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Programming along the parade route included activated plazas with games and activities for all ages.