Milk Carton Boat

This year, plastic containers are now permitted.  Well really, plastic has been permitted for some time!  The Aquatennial vs. Winter Carnival race is now at 2:50pm, and the Park Board & Public Schools Challenge is now at 3pm, so the race day is over a little earlier this year. This will be a great year!

The Boards
2004 Changes:

Just the permission of plastic containers.  The brochure is almost identical to the 2003 brochure, and still has the top prize money, $500, in the Groups race, Race 6.  (IMHO the top prize really needs to be increased, it has been the same cash prize amount for 20 years.

The participant price remains the same: $8 until July 9, or $10 after July 7 and on race day, July 25.  If you have a big boat, with lots of people, definitely register early.

Race Order

Yo-J Commodore’s Race (ages 19 and up)  9:00 A.M.

Kemp’s Skipper’s Race Cow theme (design a bovine boat) 10:00 A.M.

K102 Challenge Captain’s Race (ages 13-18) 11:00 A.M.

Kemp’s Float Bars Lieutenant’s Race (ages 12 and under.  Only one adult must accompany children) 12 Noon

The 10 Best Days of Summer Theme Race 1:00 P.M.

Kemp’s Give ‘Em Five Admiral’s Race (Groups, minimum of 5 crew members) 2:00 P.M.

Winter Carnival vs. Aquatennial Races 2:50 P.M.

Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board & Minneapolis Public Schools Challenge 3:00 P.M.

The location is Thomas Beach, southeast corner of the lake, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  It will be the 34th running of the race.  Boats will again be racing from west to east, with the starboard side of your boat facing the shoreline. 

This year will be the fourth year Minneapolis’ famed Milk Carton Boat Races are back at Lake Calhoun, their home for the boat races from 1971 to 1982. 

The date of the races is again last Sunday of the festival.

Along with the boat races, that day Lake Calhoun will also host to the Sand Castle competition, the Co-ed 4×4 volleyball tournament, fishing school, and the canoe clinic.  It’s going to be a busy Sunday on Lake Calhoun. is your official source for photos, how-to, and the storied history of the world-famous Minneapolis Aquatennial Milk Carton Boat Races!

’71 Headline Rages: “Publicity Stunt Snowballs Into Wild Event”

When did they start? Click on History.  Some photos of gee-whiz boats? Click Gallery.  A few first-person testimonials? Click Stories.  Never built a boat before? Click How-To.  Some video of the races will be up soon.

If you have an image or story of your boat, please send it along for inclusion in this Web site.

The boat races have been copied at festivals around the country, but Minneapolis was the first!  The milk carton boat races have stood the test of time.  The races are quite possibly the most popular event for participants, and usually draws about 20,000 spectators each year.

What’s not to love about the Milk Carton Boat Races?  You can’t help but crack a smile every time you see the crazy boat people come up with year after year.  The boat races are like wrapping on a Christmas present — they exist for a short period of time, bring a smile to your face, then disappear.

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