The Twin Cities River Rats, one of the country’s top-ranked water ski teams, hosts a free show on the Mississippi River every Thursday from June through August (weather pending). The Twin Cities River Rats troupe has been afloat since the ‘70s and has more than 100 members, including multigenerational families. Newbies warm up the waters from 6:30 to 7 p.m. on Thursdays, and then the pros take over. It’s become such a summertime staple, families gather along the Mississippi River with picnic blankets and take-out foods, just to watch the show.
The main event lasts about an hour and includes synchronized ballet and barefoot lines busting out their best pyramids, ankle holds, and 360-degree swivels. As many as 40 costumed skiers cut the water at a time, with performances broken up by family-friendly skits rooted in pop culture spoofs (this year’s theme: Ratty Wonka & The Chocolate Factory). A clutch of daredevil wakeboarders also factor into the mix.
Stick around after the show to get your picture taken with the skiers or amble over to nearby Pryes Brewing for a Blood Orange Miraculum IPA and a smoky, spicy, sweet Calabrian pizza from the pop-up kitchen of Cason Italian Eatery.
Twin Cities River Rats
1758 West River Rd. N., Minneapolis, MN; no phone.