The 2019 Minneapolis Aquatennial Ambassador Crew will be ending their year on Saturday, July 27, during the annual Minneapolis Aquatennial festival.

The 2019 Minneapolis Aquatennial Ambassador Crew will be ending their year on Saturday, July 27, during the annual Minneapolis Aquatennial festival. This year, the Aquatennial festival can boast 80 years of celebrating summer and all things Minneapolis, and the first year that the entire ambassador crew — including the commodore and captains — are all female. The 2019 Ambassador Crew includes: Queen of the Lakes Haley Rogers from the community of Albertville, Commodore Ann Bailey with DARTS, Aquatennial Princess Mandy Rochel from the community of Chisago Lakes, Captain Marjorie Weinhagen with Weinhagen Tires, Aquatennial Princess Courtney Engholm from the community of Sleepy Eye, and Captain Jackie Paul with 360 Communities.

This was a historical event in the 80 year history, and one that Bailey, as Commodore, did not make lightly. “The AAO mission is to inspire young women to achieve extraordinary futures by providing professional development opportunities through networking and mentoring. I loved the mission and wanted this to be the year that we demonstrated women leaders in all the roles to make a bold statement about women in leadership.” Upon learning that the entire crew would be women, Engholm said, “It was really inspiring to see that this year would be an all-female team, especially since our organization strives to empower women. I was impressed that Commodore Ann decided to break barriers and bring something new to AAO by creating an all-female team.”

“I believe that our team took the first big leap of change that was needed for Minnesota and the Minneapolis Aquatennial,” Engholm continued. “By being the first all-female ambassador team, we have shown others around us that women are strong leaders. I also believe that it had a big impact on the AAO, because our organization believes in the empowerment and professional development of women, so what better way to show that belief than by having an all-female team.”

Engholm and the rest of the team have attended around 250 events throughout North America, with the bulk of those being in the state of Minnesota. Engholm said that reception of the all-female team has been very positive, “Some people are definitely surprised when they see our team, especially communities that are used to seeing male captains and commodores. Overall, we have had a lot of support across all communities from people of all ages. It is fantastic to hear (them) compliment our team on the wonderful job we're doing and thank us for stepping out of the box and being the first all-female team, as well as seeing young girls realize that they can be strong leaders too.”

When asked about the highlight of the year, Engholm said, “Traveling to festivals around the U.S. and Canada with my team. It was so interesting to learn about other cities and their festivals, along with spending time together as a team and creating fun memories.”

As the year comes to a close, Engholm’s life will return to a more normal pace. “After I pass down my crown to the next ambassador, I will continue my college education at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities where I’m majoring in Child Psychology and minoring in Family Therapy and Family Violence Prevention. I hope to do some volunteering around Minneapolis during the school year and study abroad next spring/summer. Also, I look forward to all of the festivities of Aquatennial in July 2020.”

The public is invited to attend the Commodore’s Dinner on Thursday, July 25 to celebrate the 2019 Ambassador Crew’s year. Tickets for the Commodore’s Dinner, along with information about the 2020 Ambassador Coronation, are available at aquatennialambassadors.com/events.

The Aquatennial Ambassador Organization (AAO) has been a pioneering organization in building partnerships and relationships with the Minneapolis Aquatennial, City of Minneapolis and local communities throughout Minnesota since 1940. Our Ambassadors serve as positive role models by making over 250 public appearances every year. For more information visit aquatennialambassadors.com.