Aqua follies, 1946

Published July 10, 2014 by Kirsten Delegard

By the late 1930s, Minneapolis was on the skids. The city’s industries were in decline and the community had developed a national reputation for ethnic and labor conflict. The Teamsters’ Strike of 1934 was a pivotal moment for city leaders, who resolved to work together to re-brand the Mill City as the City of Lakes. The Aquatennial Festival was launched in 1939 as part of this broader public relations effort. The lavish Aqua Follies–held each year at Thedore Wirth Pool in Wirth Park–was the centerpiece of this glitzy civic extravaganza. Here we have the cover from the Aqua Follies program from 1946. Image is from the collection of the Hennepin History Museum, which has the most extensive collection of Aquatennial material in the city.