Carifest recipes

Carifest Recipes

The Carifest organizers shared some of their favorite recipes with Aquatennial. Check out some of these incredible dishes and offerings as you celebrate the 2020 Aquatennial.

Jerk Chicken

Ingredients

1 whole chicken, separated into pieces

2 Scotch bonnet peppers, seeds removed

1 tablespoon salt, or to taste

1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground

1 teaspoon allspice

1 teaspoon nutmeg

4 cloves garlic

1 ½ teaspoon thyme, dried

1 teaspoon fresh thyme

½ cup scallions, chopped

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 lemon, sliced into 4-6 pieces

Preparation

Set chicken aside

Using food processor, blend remaining ingredients into a paste (except for lemon slices)

Rub all over chicken

Grill chicken over medium or medium-high heat for 5-6 minutes on each side or until thoroughly cooked

Serve with lemon slices

Jamaican Dumplings

Ingredients

4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 ½ teaspoons salt

1 tablespoons butter

½ cup cold water

Olive oil, vegetable oil, or grape-seed oil for frying, enough to fill skillet halfway

Preparation

Combine dry ingredients into a large bowl. Stir butter until flour mixture is in crumbles no longer than peas.

Mix in water 1 tablespoon at a time, just until the mixture is wet enough to form into a ball. The dough should have a firm consistency. Knead briefly and let rest for 5-10 minutes.

Heat oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat until hot. Break off pieces of dough and shape into patties—similar to flat biscuits.

Place just enough of the dumplings in the pan so they are not crowded.

Fry on each side until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side.

Remove from pan and drain on paper towels before serving.

Frittata

Ingredients

1 garlic clove, minced

¼ cup onions, chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil or coconut oil

½ cup freshly chopped tomato

¾ cup fresh spinach, torn into large pieces

3 whole eggs, plus 2 egg whites (or egg substitution of your choosing)

¼ cup whole milk

¼ teaspoon sea salt

1/3 cup finely chopped basil leaves

½ cup feta cheese

Apple Cider Dressing

Apple cider vinegar, like Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar

Olive Oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

Optional: add minced garlic and shallots

or Simple Lemon Dressing

1 lemon, juice

3 cloves garlic, minced

4-5 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

Pinch of red pepper flakes

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

In cast-iron skillet, sauté garlic and onions in olive oil or coconut oil until onion is soft

Add tomatoes and spinach, allowing spinach to wilt

In a large bowl, whisk eggs, egg whites, milk, salt and pepper together

After whisking, add egg mixture and chopped basil to the pan

Sprinkle with feta cheese

When edges of frittata start to firm against pan, remove from stovetop and plan in oven until fully cooked, about 10 minutes

Serve with side salad and apple cider vinaigrette or simple lemon dressings

For apple cider and simple lemon salad dressings, mix all ingredients and whisk until combined. From cider dressing, desired yield is 1 part vinegar and 2 parts olive oil

Optional: you can also make individual servings in ramekins.

Brown Rice and Salmon Bowl

Ingredients

1 salmon fillet (1 pound)

1 head cauliflower, florets quartered, cut into bite-size pieces

1 whole leek (discard outer layer, then clean and slice)

Olive oil for drizzling, plus 1 tablespoon for sautéing

Salt and pepper, to taste

Cumin, to taste

1 bunch beet greens, julienned, stems removed

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoons coconut oil

3 cups cooked brown rice

½ avocado

Preparation

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

Spread cauliflower and leeks on roasting pan, drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, cumin

Roast for 40 minutes, loosening cauliflower with wooden spoon halfway through to prevent sticking

Salt salmon, divide into 3 pieces, set aside

Saute beet greens in olive oil, add minced garlic

Cook salmon in a frying pan with coconut oil until pink in the middle

Scoop cooked brown rice into bowl, cover with roasted cauliflower and leeks

Place salmon and beet greens on top

Open avocado and slice lengthwise into pieces for garnish

Caribbean Salsa

Ingredients

1 cup fresh, firm mango, diced

1 cup fresh pineapple, diced

Optional: 1 cup fresh, firm papaya, diced

¼ cup fresh jalapeno, minced and seasoned, or to taste

¼ cup red onion, minced

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

½ tablespoon salt, kosher or sea

1 tablespoon freshly chopped cilantro

1 cup firm Roma tomatoes, diced and seeded

¼ cup cucumber, diced and seeded

Hempseed

Preparation

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and generously sprinkle hempseed before serving

Enjoy with chips and fresh green salad

Pineapple Lemongrass Cooler

Ingredients

½ ripe pineapple

2 bananas

½ cup (120ml) water

Three 4-inch (10cm) pieces of lemongrass

Simple Syrup

¼ cup (60ml) vodka, optional

Preparation

Place the pineapple, bananas. Water, and lemongrass in a blender and blend on high until smooth. Strain through cheesecloth. Taste and add simple syrup, if necessary. Stir in the optional vodka. Serve on the rocks.

Creole Sauce

Ingredients

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons (85g) vegan margarine

6 tomatoes, thinly sliced

2 onions, thinly sliced

4 garlic cloves, chopped

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon mild paprika

1 teaspoon Madras curry powder

2 cups (480ml) water

2 teaspoons tomato paste

2 teaspoons onion powder

1 ½ to 2 teaspoons pink or sea salt, or to taste

1 to 2 teaspoons Bajan Pepper Sauce

1 teaspoon commercial pepper sauce with ½ teaspoon American-style mustard

1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley

Preparation

Heat the margarine in a large saucepan over low heat. Add the tomatoes and onions and sauté until the tomatoes begin to release their juice and the onions start to become translucent

Add the garlic, raise the heat to medium, and cook for 3 minutes

Sirin the pepper, paprika, and curry powder, then sir in the water and tomato paste. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the onion powder, salt, pepper sauce, and parsley. Serve hot.

Plantain Balls

Ingredients

1 overripe plantain

2 tablespoons chopped Holiday “Ham”

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

¼ cup (30g) medium breadcrumbs

1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes

1 tablespoon wheat germ

¼ teaspoon pink or sea salt

Large pinch of mild paprika

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C) and grease a baking sheet.

Mash the plantain. Sir in the vegan ham, cinnamon, and cayenne. Separately, combine the breadcrumbs, nutritional yeast, wheat germ, salt, and paprika and mix well. Put the bread crumb mixture on a plate.

Roll the plantain mixture into walnut-sized balls using a heaping teaspoon to portion out the mixture. Roll them in the breading to coat evenly, and place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake 20-25 minutes, until golden brown, turning once during the cooking process.

Curry Sauce

Ingredients

2 tablespoons vegan margarine

½ onion, minced

1 to 2 tablespoons mince celery

1 small bay leaf

1 tablespoon Madras curry powder

1 tablespoon fine cornmeal or corn flour

1/3 cup (80 ml) water

½ teaspoon pink or sea salt

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

1 ½ teaspoons fresh lime juice

Preparation

Heat the margarine in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and bay leaf, turn the heat down to medium-low, and sauté for about 5 minutes, until the onion is translucent.

Add the curry powder, cornmeal, and water and whisk briskly. Stir in the salt and ginger, raise the heat to medium, and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is slightly thick. Remove from the heat and stir in the lime juice.

Canoe Derby connected MN communities during early Aquatennial years

Canoe Derby connected MN communities during early Aquatennial years

The Mississippi River weaves its way from Bemidji to Minneapolis, covering 450 miles and connecting countless towns along the way. For a little more than two decades, it was also a celebrated path to Aquatennial that essentially kicked off and kept afloat the Best Days of Summer.

From 1940 through the early 1960s—with a few years missed in between—the Aquatennial Canoe Derby brought teams together to compete for prize money and Aquatennial bragging rights as they navigated the Mighty Mississippi with canoes below and paddles in hand.

Today, canoeing continues to be a part of typical Aquatennial celebrations. Wilderness Inquiry offers voyageur canoe rides in Loring Park and on the Mississippi River during typical Aquatennial years, and this year they are offering virtual video experiences highlighting Minneapolis canoe routes.

In Aquatennial’s early years, the Aquatennial Canoe Derby took on different lengths over the years, with the longest version stretching from Bemidji to Minneapolis and including 10 checkpoint stops at various Minnesota towns—many of which hosted celebrations for the canoers upon arrival.

After legs of the race that typically took 8-10 hours to complete, competitors embraced and welcomed the festivities.

“There would be overnight stops, and communities would put on a festival when they were there,” Hennepin History Museum’s Aquatennial Collection Volunteer Archivist Ken Hafften said. “They would stay overnight in church basements. Then the community would host whatever events they might have. Community goers really got involved.”

(Article continues below photo gallery. Photos of past Aquatennial Canoe Derbies are courtesy of Hennepin History Museum)

The first canoe race in 1940 had two installments—the main race that went from Bemidji to the Camden Bridge in Minneapolis, and then a sprint race from the Camden Bridge to the Franklin Bridge with a portage at St. Anthony Falls.

Over the years, variations of the race featured routes beginning at St. Cloud and Anoka before ending in Minneapolis.

Prizes ranged from $1,200 in 1940 to $13,000 for the winners in 1951. Participating teams varied from two dozen teams to as many as 50 in 1949.

That 1949 race featured the first female entrant in the derby, and it also was one of four races won by Gene Jensen and Tom Estes—a four-time championship duo that won in 1948, ’49, ’50 and ’60.

Entrants’ standard minimum age was 17 years old, and Hafften said most participating teams were from Minnesota. In its later years, Explorer Scouts made up the field of competitors.

The serene yet grueling path sometimes featured as many as 87 miles covered in a single day. While the Aquatennial Canoe Derby’s last race took place in the early 1960s, it was a big part of Aquatennial’s schedule in its early years.

To view more past and present Aquatennial content, visit www.aquatennial.com/aqua2020.

Announcement by the Mpls Aquatennial

Announcement by the Mpls Aquatennial

July 2, 2020

It is Aquatennial time, and we will miss seeing you in person this year. Our community continues to navigate the realities of COVID-19 and its impacts on public health. We will always prioritize community safety over celebrations. More importantly, Minneapolis is still reeling from the death of George Floyd. Our community has been deeply impacted by his tragic death and the unrest that followed. Simply said, it does not feel like it is time to celebrate. We want to take the time to honor our community and give space for the important work that needs to be done.

As our community begins to heal, we are encouraged by neighbors helping neighbors and the hope and spirit of Minneapolis at work. We are optimistic we will be in a better place to celebrate next year.

We invite you to follow along on social media July 22-25, as we share Aquatennial activities, content, and memories.

And, please mark your calendars for next year, when we look forward to celebrating Aquatennial, including the CenterPoint Energy Torchlight Parade and Target Fireworks, July 21–24, 2021.

Click here to view 2020 Aquatennial activities and content.

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.

2018 Aquatennial Blog | Saturday, July 21

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Day 4 of the 2018 Minneapolis Aquatennial was truly one that every Minnesotan can be proud of.  Hundreds of thousands of people congregated in downtown mpls to wrap up this extraordinary 4-day celebration.  We got the day kicked off with an event that is new to Aquatennial, the Aquatennial Skyline Fest.  From 11am – 5pm, people were able to watch or participate in Stand-Up Paddleboard races, free Wilderness Inquiry canoe rides, free CorePower yoga, great vendors and more.

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Yet another new event this year was the National Parks Service free tours and picnics on the Upper Saint Antony Falls Lock and Dam.  On a busy Saturday, the Lock and Dam would see typically see around 250 visitors.  However, during Aquatennial, they saw over 900 visitors come and take part in this fun new event.  We are very pleased with the success of this event and look forward to a continued relationship!

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After the day-time activities were wrapping up, we were gearing up for the night. From 6-8pm, visitors were invited to the Guthrie Theater parking lot to check out AquaJam Best Trick, where local skateboarders were invited to compete on an awesome new obstacle – the Spoon and Cherry – for cash prizes.  We were blown away by the crowd that gathered to take in these sweet tricks on this beautiful night in downtown mpls.  People also stopped by to watch this event while waiting for the Target Fireworks, so that added to the number of attendees.

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We are hearing that this year’s pre-fireworks festivities and entertainment were the best to date!  Due North, HC/MC, Of The Orchard, and The Grateful Red each played a 1-hour set for an absolutely huge crowd.  The tunes were bumping and the crowd was loving it for the entire 4 hours leading up to the Fireworks display. We also welcomed great food trucks to West River Parkway during this event.  Another huge success during this event was the Family Fun Zone presented by Tom’s of Maine.  Great vendors like the Vikings, Lynx, Twin Cities Road Crew, and more kept the kids entertained for hours.

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Finally, we wrapped up the 2018 Aquatennial with a crowd favorite.  The Target Fireworks – a top 5 fireworks show nationally – stunned everyone in the vicinity of downtown.  Concert-goers at Target Field quickly turned their attention from Luke Bryan to the Target Fireworks taking place in the distance.  We are so lucky to be able to work with a Zambelli Fireworks every year on this show, and we are beyond grateful to have sponsors like Target, who make this event and this celebration possible.

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Until next time, Minneapolis.

– The 2018 Minneapolis Aquatennial Team

2018 Aquatennial Blog | Friday, July 20

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Day 3 welcomed another new event to the Minneapolis Aquatennial.  Aquatennial’s Fulton Downtown Thunderdome took place at the Fulton Taproom in downtown Minneapolis.  This criterium format city-street bike race was a unique event and a way for people to take in the action while also enjoying a delicious Fulton Brew.  People lined the streets and watched the bikes fly by in this exciting and successful new event!

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We also finished up the Aquatenial Blood Drive with the third day of donations.  Again, the IDS Center Crystal Court was a busy place with many people stopping by to donate their time and their blood to the American Red Cross.  There was a bit of a hiccup that didn’t allow for donations for roughly two hours, but we still collected 25 donations on the last day.  Our 3-day total ended up being 95 donations – a HUGE success for Aquatennial and the American Red Cross.  We look forward to continuing this success in next year’s drive, so make your plans early to donate during Aquatennial!

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Another new event this year was Alchemy 365’s free A10 fitness class at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.  Around 125 fitness fanatics came out for this fun, high-energy class – and they were not disappointed!  Some people were familiar with Alchemy 365, some were first-timers, but they all came together and made this event a great success.

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We finished off the third day of the 2018 Aquatennial with the second Twin Cities River Rats water ski show.  This event went extremely well despite the sprinkling rain an hour before the event was set to start.  Hundreds of fans lined West River Parkway in anticipation of the high-flying action of the River Rats.  The weather cleared up and the sun even came out towards the middle of the show, and these Little Ratscalls delivered!

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2018 Aquatennial Blog | Thursday, July 19

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Day 2 of the 2018 Aquatennial was one plagued by the fear of rain.  In typical fashion, the Aquatennial team handled this fear with ease and professionalism.  We endured the light rain and continued as planned.  We started off with another weekly event in the summer, the Nicollet Mall Farmers Market.  Dozens of market vendors lined the sidewalks of Nicollet and hundreds of people stopped by to stock up on fresh produce, flowers and more.

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In the afternoon, we welcomed a new event to Aquatennial, the JB Hudson Family Fun Fest.  Activities included beading projects, color-your-own tiaras and watches, rock painting and a family photo station, plus hot dogs and cool treats.  This indoors event attracted many families who were looking for something a little different, and the JB Hudson team delivered with a great event that we hope to have back as part of Aquatennial in the future.

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The second day of the Aquatennial blood drive was one for the record books.  The Red Cross received as Aquatennial Blood drive single-day record of 40 donations.  Lines of people were at the volunteer table all day trying to get their spot to donate, and we couldn’t be more appreciative of the efforts by everyone – especially during the blood crisis happening now.

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CorePower Yoga came back to Aquatennial this year with what was supposed to be a yoga session and guided meditation hike at Father Hennepin Bluff Park.  Unfortunately, we live in an unpredictable world and this event was forced into their downtown studio due to the weather.  Nonetheless, the Yogis came out in full force with a great showing – nearly filling their largest studio room.

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Rounding out a strong second day of Aquatennial was a crowd favorite – the Twin Cities Rive Rats water ski show.  Again, the rain thinned the crowd a little bit, but that didn’t stop the die-hard fans from showing up and supporting this awesome group of performers.  This year’s theme was The Little Ratscalls.

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2018 Aquatennial Blog | Wednesday, July 18

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We’re only one day through the 2018 Minneapolis Aquatennial and this year’s celebration is already one for the ages.  We got the action started at the IDS Center with the Aquatennial Blood Drive from 9am-3pm.  We received a great amount of donations, with 30 people donating their time and their blood to The Red Cross.

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Also starting Wednesday morning was the Go Outside with Hennepin County South Plaza Activities, which ran from 11:30am-1:30pm.  This event runs weekly throughout the summer, but this week had the most engagement that we’ve seen all summer.  Hennepin County employees, kids and downtown residents gathered to play cornhole, ladder ball, connect-4 and much more!

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We then invited people down to the Loring Park Pre-Parade Family Fun Night, where attendees took part in USTA Northern tennis lessons, Wilderness Inquiry Canoe Rides, pony rides, a rockin’ dance floor and many more activities.  This event brought in hundreds of people, and there was nothing but smiles all around.

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The LifeTime Torchlight 5K was started at 7:30pm by WCCO’s Heather Brown, who also competed in the race.  The streets of downtown Minneapolis were flooded with competitive and recreational runners ranging from children to elderly, and everything in between.

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Wrapping up an exciting first day of events was the CenterPoint Energy Torchlight Parade.  We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful night, and the amazing weather brought out thousands of people to the largest nighttime parade in Minnesota.  Over 85 parade units traveled down the crowded streets of downtown throwing candy, dancing, marching, and interacting with the excited parade-goers.

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Stillwater native and X Games standout Nicole Hause to Grand Marshal CanterPoint Energy Torchlight Parade

The Minneapolis Aquatennial announced today that Stillwater-native Nicole Hause, who will again participate in the upcoming X Games in downtown Minneapolis this month, will be the Grand Marshal of the 2018 CenterPoint Energy Torchlight Parade on Wednesday, July 18 at 8:30-10:30 pm

Known as the largest nighttime parade in Minnesota, the CenterPoint Energy Torchlight Parade’s Grand Marshal is one of the top female skateboarders in the world.

“Our company looks forward to the CenterPoint Energy Torchlight Parade every year because it’s an exciting way to show appreciation for, and spend time with, the communities we serve each day,” said Brad Tutunjian, division vice president of Gas Operations in Minnesota. “For eighteen consecutive years, it has been a privilege to be able to sponsor this fun-filled event and it’s our hope that everyone can join us in celebrating on July 18.”

Hause was named 2016 Female Bowl Skater of the Year by World Cup Skating. Born in 1997 in Stillwater, Hause began skating at 10 years old after attending a friend’s skateboard birthday party. Her dad built her a ramp shortly thereafter, and at age 15 she turned pro.

Hause missed her 2016 high school graduation to participate in her first X Games. Since then, she placed first in 2017 and 2018 at Malmo, Sweden’s Vert Attack as well as first in the 2018 Vans Girls Combi Pool Classic Pro and first in the 2018 Dew Tour. Last year at X Games in Minneapolis, Hause placed fourth.

During her career, she has competed in the U.S.A., Sweden, Australia and Brazil. Hause is known for her big air, speed and powerful style on the skateboard.

“I am very excited to be the Grand Marshal at the CenterPoint Energy Torchlight Parade,” Hause said. “It’s great to be home, and being part of the Aquatennial and the X Games in downtown Minneapolis in the same week is going to be awesome.”

The CenterPoint Energy Torchlight Parade, along with fellow flagship event Target Fireworks on Saturday, July 21 at 10 p.m., bookend four jam-packed days of Aquatennial events and programming that features two-dozen free and family-friendly events throughout downtown and along the Mississippi Riverfront—where our city was born.

Aquatennial Blog | Saturday, July 22

Aquatennial Blog | Saturday, July 22

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Welcome to the 2017 Aquatennial! This is our Official Civic Celebration, and we’re excited to share it again with you here in Minneapolis for the 78th year. Join us on this fun four-day adventure 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 Candid Canines Film Festival and MN Made Market. 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.

We closed out the 2017 Aquatennial with a BANG on Saturday, concluding the four-day festival with Target Fireworks. Leading up to fireworks, we had a great day of fun things to do in downtown Mpls, including AquaJam, Pre-Firework festivities, and more! 

 

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Target Fireworks

The grand finale (as always) at Aquatennial is the beloved Target Fireworks, considered one of the top 5 annual displays in the country. The evening always kicks off with the Pre-Fireworks Festivities from 6-10 pm, and this year it included four bands performing consecutively including Heart & Soul Drum Academy, theStone Arch Isles, the Great Lakes Navy Band, and The Grateful RED—an always-popular group of Target employees who play an incredible Big Band set. There were food trucks and treats along West River Parkway. There was also a ramped-up kids zone near the Stone Arch Bridge featuring a mini-water slide, a Keys 4/4 Kids ‘Paint a Piano’, a Crayola Experience, face painting/Henna Tattoos, a Timberwolves/Lynx booth, a Gopher Athletics booth, and more.

Then, at 10 pm, the Target Fireworks kicked off from the 3rd Avenue Bridge with perhaps its best version yet. The 20+ minute show It was intricately set to music, and the ‘pyromusical’ was simulcast on Go 95.3 FM (due to the Twins game going long—it was scheduled to be simulcast on Go 96.3 FM). The display featured odes to Weezer, Coldplay, and others. This year’s Target Fireworks also had a tribute to Prince with “Little Red Corvette.” The 2017 grand finale could be dubbed as one of the best Target Fireworks conclusions ever. This installment of the Target Fireworks was definitely not one to miss out on.

 

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AquaJam

AquaJam was popular in the 1980s, and thanks to Fulton Beer and Familia Skateshop, it once again was a success in its second returning year in 2017. The event taking place at Boom Island featured a mini-ramp, a Skate your State ramp, rails, barrel jumps and more. AquaJam also featured a variety of food trucks and beverages. It was packed along the course as people watched talented local skaters, both young and old, try out different tricks. Cash prizes were handed out based on judges’ discretion of how difficult the trick was, and there was even a barrel-jumping competition where the winner cleared 11 barrels in a jump. This event was truly a one-of-a-kind experience for everyone involved.

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Twin Cities Carifest

Twin Cities Carifest has been an annual staple of summer in Minneapolis for the past two decades, and it continued this year during Aquatennial on West River Road between the Plymouth and Broadway bridges. This event features Caribbean art, food, crafts, music and a traditional carnival parade with colorful costumes and dance. If you’ve never been before, it has really delicious items to try out. Plus, it is just across the Plymouth Bridge from AquaJam and just a mile and a half from the Target Fireworks preferred viewing area.