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Minneapolis Aquatennial returns downtown, fireworks still on despite drought

The annual Minneapolis Aquatennial celebration is back in person this year after going virtual in 2020 due to the pandemic.

MINNEAPOLIS — From blood drives to performances and the fireworks display, Minneapolis Aquatennial is the official civic celebration for the City of Minneapolis.

"We are so excited to welcome people back in person to the Minneapolis Aquatennial," said Leah Wong, vice president of external affairs for the Minneapolis Downtown Council.

Wong says the events are only part of the experience.

"We're also excited to show people downtown," she said. "While some people have been away, a lot has been happening downtown. So, we have had new hotel openings. We have had new restaurants and retailers open downtown. We have had the Waterfront Project completed."

With dozens of free activities scheduled, organizers are expecting crowds of people, especially at Saturday's fireworks show, which is considered one of the top five annual displays in the nation.

The show comes as Minnesota experiences drought.

"Public safety planning is always a top priority this year and every year and so as we plan for the fireworks we are absolutely mindful and we work very closely with our local authorities and the fire department to do that in the right way," Wong said. "We will have some extra equipment available and extra personnel."

She says safety will also mean taking care of yourself by staying hydrated and dressing for the conditions at the various walkable and bike rideable events.

"Whether you're ready to kind of dip your toe or dive in, we have experiences for you downtown and we can't wait to see you here," Wong said.