In its 68 years, the Minneapolis Aquatennial has seen some strange things, and hosted some pretty big names. Perhaps the best event that overlapped into both of these categories came in 1958. His jowls were just beginning to reach maturity, and he was still perfecting his scowl, but then-Vice President Richard Nixon was the grand marshal at the Aquatennial parade. Just imagine Tricky Dick himself leading floats and high school marching bands through the streets of Minneapolis. Nothing quite so strangely cool is scheduled for this year's 69th Aquatennial, but fun things will happen nonetheless. The Aquatennial's block party runs from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. this Friday night on Nicollet Mall and marks the official beginning of the Aquatennial with blues band the Fabulous Thunderbirds and headliner Blues Traveler. On Sunday, get to Lake Calhoun to cheer the milk-carton boat races, an Aquatennial tradition that started as an advertising ploy, or lounge about at the Beach Bash with a sandcastle competition, music, and kids' events from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. In front of the IDS Center on Tuesday and Wednesday, artists will compete in the Art of Recycling Sculpture Contest, creating works out of scrapped metal. The Aquatennial Torchlight Parade will traverse Hennepin Avenue next Wednesday night starting at 8 p.m., and don't miss the hugely popular fireworks show at 10 p.m. along the riverfront next Saturday. Go to www.aquatennial.com or call 612.376.7669 for a complete schedule.
July 12-27, 2008