Minneapolis' midsummer festival starts this week, promising time-honored events and new ones. Here are the highlights. Missing is the Block Party that used to open the festival. It was dropped from the lineup of this year's festival, which runs Friday-July 21.


Life Time Tri: The annual triathlon that draws 3,000 participants becomes part of the Aquatennial this year. Saturday 4:30 a.m.- 1 p.m. Event starts and ends at Lake Nokomis, with the 40k bike portion looping around West River Parkway, East River Parkway and Minnehaha Parkway, and Lake Harriet.

North Star Surf Stand-Up Paddle: Anyone who visits the annual Beach Bash can try steering a paddle board while standing. Sunday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Lake Calhoun's Thomas Beach.

Global Smoothie Smack Down: Midtown Global Market chefs will compete to create the winning smoothie, as determined by popular vote. $5. July 21 noon-2 p.m. Midtown Global Market, 920 E. Lake St.


Beach Bash: Sunday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Events include milk carton boat races, sand castle-building contest and canoe rides. Lake Calhoun's Thomas Beach.

Pre-parade Family Fun Night: July 18 5-7:30 p.m. Live music, carnival games and refreshments at Loring Park can occupy the kids before the Torchlight Parade.

Torchlight Parade: July 18 8:30-10:30 p.m. The parade marches down Hennepin Avenue from Dunwoody College to 5th Street.

Queen of the Lakes coronation: July 20 7-9 p.m. at the University of Minnesota's Ted Mann Concert Hall. $30.

Target Fireworks: July 21. The Aquatennial finale gets started at 6 p.m. with music on West River Parkway (between Portland Avenue and 3rd Avenue Bridge) and concludes at 10 p.m. with fireworks over the Mississippi River downtown.


More events and information are at www.aquatennial.comFacebook.com/AquatennialPinterest.com/Aquatennial •Twitter @Aquatennial