Organization Overview & History
The Aquatennial Ambassador Organization (AAO) and the Minneapolis Downtown Council work together to create the city’s official civic festival known as The Minneapolis Aquatennial. Since 1940 the Minneapolis Aquatennial has created a nostalgic reputation of community involvement, leadership and volunteerism.
The Minneapolis Downtown Council presides over a variety of events that create “The Best Days of Summer”. Events such as the Milk Carton Boat Races, The Torchlight Parade, The Block Party, and The Calhoun Beach Bash have been cornerstone events for the 10-day festival held every July.
The AAO is one of the premiere non-profit organizations in the country. For more than 70 years, the AAO has been honoring young women, seniors and volunteers who serve as ambassadors representing the City of Minneapolis. The AAO Ambassador Family consists of the Minneapolis Aquatennial Queen of The Lakes and Princesses, the Commodore, two Captain positions, and four senior ambassadors. These individuals travel to over 200 appearances throughout the State of MN, nationally and internationally representing the City of Minneapolis and the Aquatennial festival during their one year reign.
Each year, over 40 young women come to the Aquatennial festival to vie for the title of Queen of the Lakes or Princess. These young women have spent a year representing their hometown festivals from around the State of MN. They are hosted by AAO for seven days in Downtown Minneapolis to learn about the city, meet other ambassadors, participate in leadership & development programs, and partake in many Aquatennial activities. The AAO prides itself on offering a once-in-a-lifetime experience to these young women during that week, and helping them develop personally and professionally through their experience with AAO.
Also during the Aquatennial festival, Visiting Dignitaries come to Minneapolis to celebrate our festival and also represent their own festivals – such as Fiesta San Antonio, Pasadena Tournament of Roses, Macon, Georgia Cherry Blossom Festival, Winnipeg Festival du Voyageur, and the St. Paul Winter Carnival.