See more of the story

Aquatennial organizers, citing the absence of that celebratory feeling, announced Thursday that this year's activities scheduled for later this month in Minneapolis are canceled.

"We will miss seeing you in person this year," read a statement from the Minneapolis Downtown Council.

The business group went on to cite two key reasons: the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on public health along with the city's challenges following the killing of George Floyd on May 25 by police.

"Our community continues to navigate the realities of COVID-19 and its impacts on public health," the statement continued. "We will always prioritize community safety over celebrations. More importantly, Minneapolis is still reeling from the death of George Floyd. Our community has been deeply impacted by his tragic death and the unrest that followed."

Summing up, the statement said, "It does not feel like it is time to celebrate. We want to take the time to honor our community and give space for the important work that needs to be done."

Minneapolis' annual summer party began in 1940 and offers many events that draw thousands of people downtown. They include the Torchlight Parade, a 5K run and fireworks.

This year's events were scheduled to run from July 22-25. Organizers have scheduled the 2021 Aquatennial for July 21-24.

Leah Wong, the council's vice president for external relations, said the group made the decision on Wednesday, just three weeks before festivities were to start.

Wong said the group "tried to hold off until the last possible moment" while assessing various scales of celebration.

"We were really working hard to bring this celebration forward," she said, going over "multiple plans since April … on how we could do a social-distanced Aquatennial."

Ultimately, this summer's Aquatennial will be a strictly virtual affair that will include coloring pages, jigsaw puzzles, a scavenger hunt and more. Visit for more information.

Correction: A previous version of this story should have said there is an entry fee for the 5K run.