Minneapolis Aquatennial, which launched in 1940 to celebrate all things splishy/splashy in the City of Lakes, won't go down in 2020, organizers announced Friday.
The rationales cited? Public health (COVID-19) and public heartache (the police killing of George Floyd).
"Our community continues to navigate the realities of COVID-19 and its impacts on public health; we will always prioritize community safety over celebrations," a statement reads. "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."
COVID-19 has infected 36,716 Minnesotans, killing 1,445; the virus is spiking nationally. Minneapolis is currently exploring defunding and dismantling its police force after Floyd died underneath an officer's knee in May, sparking international outrage.
"Simply said, it does not feel like it is time to celebrate," the statement continues. "We want to take the time to honor our community and give space for the important work that needs to be done."
Originally slated for July 22-25, Aquatennial would have featured all the ol' standbys: Torchlight Parade, fireworks, sandcastle contests, water skiing shows, 5K runs, music, corporate sponsorship, and, possibly, milk carton boat races (last year's were landlocked due to E. coli lurking in Bde Maka Ska.) Now the so-called "Best Days of Summer" will continue unabated as the anxious, isolated days of 2020.
At this point, you might be asking yourself: Did the author's parents, the blissfully wed Mark and Patti Boller, meet through mutual friends at a 1982 Aquatennial event? In the interest of extending this blog post a wee bit longer, I'll reveal that answer in the following paragraph.
Have a fun, socially distanced Fourth of July. Here's some stuff do while wearing your mask.