Lileks: Minneapolis Aquatennial celebrates 10 great days of moistness

  • Article by: JAMES LILEKS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 19, 2014 - 4:08 PM

The Aquatennial, our annual celebration of dihydrogen monoxide — also known as water — is underway! You can go to the big events if you wish — there’s sand-castle building at Lake Harriet today, and according to the new rules, at least 10 percent of the castle must be affordable housing. Or you can just celebrate quietly at home by filling a glass of water and putting on a party hat. However you celebrate it, get out there and enjoy our Salute to America’s Favorite Liquid.

There will be the milk carton races, of course, along with the dredging of the lake for last year’s losers, who made the mistake of building a boat with those retro glass milk containers. To liven things up, the lake has been stocked with piranhas, in keeping with the theme “Bite Off a Chunk of Summer.” If your first name is Summer, you may want to skip it.

Canceled: The annual “Lazy Ol’ Creek Ramble,” where participants float down Minnehaha Creek; it’s so high and fast this year that participants would shoot over the falls at 50 miles per hour. Tubing is not a sport that easily incorporates parachutes.

The highlight of the event is the Torchlight Parade, and I have to say: This makes absolutely no sense. It’s like the victory of Fire over its natural enemy, Water. If you’re going to dedicate the event to H2O, then the parade should consist of marchers with hoses connected to high-pressure water tanks, dousing everything and everyone.

For that matter, the spectators should be on fire, not the marchers, and the paraders should hose them down to extinguish the blaze. Thus the Triumph of Water, which is what we’re celebrating.

So put on your Skipper Pin and be festive — be sure you stop by Lake Calhoun to visit the newest attraction, the Ice Palace in Raw Materials Form. It’s just a big trough of water, but with a little imagination you can see what it’ll look like.

Soon enough.

jlileks@startribune.com • 612-673-7858

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