Aquatennial Festival kicks off in downtown Minneapolis Wednesday

The Torchlight Parade down Hennepin Ave starts at 8:30 p.m.

Sloane Martin
July 18, 2018 - 6:55 am
Aquatennial parade

Photo courtesy Minneapolis Aquatennial


The 2018 Minneapolis Aquatennial celebration kicks off Wednesday with the TorchLight parade down Hennepin Avenue downtown.

"It's one of the largest nighttime parades in the state of Minnesota," Minneapolis Downtown Council spokesperson Leah Wong said. "It marches down Hennepin Avenue at 8:30 p.m. and of course we have our LifeTime Torchlight 5K prior to that at 7:30."

The parade is all about lights with 90 colorful floats and diplays and marching bands. Stillwater native and X Games athlete Nicole Hause is the grand marshal.

Besides the parade and 5K Wednesday evening, there's also a blood drive Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the IDS Center Crystal Court and lawn games and activities at the Hennepin County Government Center South Plaza.

Aquatennial wraps up Saturday with the much-anticipated fireworks show at the Stone Arch Bridge. The show begins at 10 p.m.

With multiple road closures Wednesday, organizers say attendees can use Metro Transit for free. You can download and print a pass at

The following are road closures Wednesday from 7 to 8:30 p.m. (with the exception of Hennepin):

-Hennepin Avenue (until around 10:30 p.m.) from Dunwoody Blvd. to Third St. S
-Third St. S from First Ave N to Second Ave. S
-First St. N from Hennepin to Fourth Ave N 
-Fourth Ave. N from First St. N to West River Parkway
-West River Parkway from Fourth Ave. N to Portland Ave. 
-Main St. from Third Ave. SE to Sixth Ave. SE


A complete list of Aquatennial events can be found here