Aquatennial adds events, cuts city costs

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June 6, 2005 // UPDATED 1:55 pm - April 26, 2007
By: Scott Russell
Scott Russell

The Minneapolis Aquatennial Block Party will extend its hours from 10:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. this year, and organizers are considering making it a two-day event in 2006.

It is part of an ongoing effort to raise more money and reduce Aquatennial costs to the city's General Fund.

New events during the July 15-24 citywide celebration include a national hydrofoil tour on the Mississippi River, a national log rolling event at North Memorial Mississippi Park, and more food at the Festival of Nations event, according to a city report.

The Minneapolis Downtown Council has run the Aquatennial since 2002. City staff and Downtown Council leaders will report on 2005 Aquatennial plans at the City Council's Transportation and Public Works Committee Tuesday, July 7.

Last year, given its tight budget, the City Council asked staff to work with the Aquatennial and its partners to increase fund-raising and reduce city costs.

The city anticipates spending $106,200 on the Aquatennial in 2005, including $74,500 from the General Fund, a city memo said. That is the same as it spent in 2003 and a 36 percent reduction from last year.

Overall, the event costs more than $1.6 million, the memo said. That includes $540,000 in cash expenses, $450,000 in in-kind donations (including volunteer hours); $500,000 in the Lifetime Fitness Triathlon purse and the city's $165,000 2004 contribution.

Based on last year's Block Party, Police will scale back staffing this year, saving money, the memo said. The Grand Day Parade has also been dropped, saving further expenses. When the event began in 1940, there were nearly 200 events; the count is now down to 70, according to the festival's Web site.

The Subway Aquatennial Block Party is July 15. For more information on Aquatennial events, see www.aquatennial.com.