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The AAO could not achieve its Mission and Vision without the dedication and generosity of our Alumni, Members, Volunteers, Partners and Sponsors.
The AAO celebrates and recognizes many of these exceptional people and organizations each year.

Annual Awards

​​Steven K. Anderson Volunteer of the Year Award

This award is designed to recognize the volunteer who undertakes tasks whenever he or she sees a need. The recipient of the award stands out among all AAO volunteers in their unselfish contributions to the Aquatennial and is the highest honor a volunteer can receive.

2021:Maricia Pacheco 

2020: Maricia Pacheco - created pin sales, virtual yoga event, woman's development program, other initiatives. 

2019: Maricia Pacheco & Maddie Simon - continuous giving of their time and talents

2018: Karen George - Stepping up to lead the AAO Hospitality team

2017: Wayne Ellingson - Supporting the financial sustainability of AAO

2016: Brian Thomas May-Technology & Internet Presence

           Sarah Schrader-Advancing the AAO both Behind the Scenes & On Stage

2015: Gary Schaak-Stepping in as Captain in 2015

2014: Sharlyn Carlson-Ambassador Program

           Sonja Weiler-Candidate Program

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President’s Award

Given to an individual chosen by the President that demonstrated excellence in execution of their volunteer activities and that contributed significantly to the outcome of the program.

2021: Cindy Shanley

2020: Stephen Zins - raised over $7,000 thru communicating with past Commodores.

2019: Abby Patterson - coordinating coronation, serving as candidate chaperone, and assistance with Commodore's Dinner

2018: Gary Schaak - Exceptional fundraising efforts for AAO

2017: Cindy Shanley-Successful event planning for volunteers & supporters

2016: Dave Recker-Building Relationship with Millennium Hotel Minneapolis

2015: Bruce Humphrys-Sponsors

           Sharolyn Carlson-Ambassador Coordination & Scheduling

           Sonja Weiler-Candidate Program

2014: Bruce & Carole Humphrys

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Alumni Engagement Award

This award recognizes an alumni member who has become more involved with the festival and their contributions are recognized as significant.

2021: Dave Recker

2020: Quintin Moore - Created & lead a program to contact all past AAO alumni.  Strong support and attitude.

2019: Emily Kegley - stepping into Appearance Coordinator position

2018: Ken Hafften-Community Lunch event planning

            Maricia Pacheco-Visiting Dignitaries program

            Maddie Simon-Visiting Dignitaries program

2017: Alison Gunter-Planning multiple events for alumni and members

2016: Terri Johnson-Membership & Willingness to Volunteer

2015: Sandy Ill-Membership & Alumni Relations

2014: Pam Albinson

Ambassador Award

Presented to the organization that is recognized by the AAO Board of Directors for demonstrating outstanding support of the festival.

2021: Hilton Garden Inn

2020: Ted Mann Concert Hall - provided AAO with outstanding support during coronation for many years.

2019: Washburn-McReavy

2018: Emerson

2017: Millennium Hotel-Continued support for AAO's candidate program

2016: Millennium Hotel Minneapolis-AAO's new Host Hotel

2015: Minneapolis Woman's Club

2014: Shorenstein Company

Commodore's Award

This award is given to an AAO Partner or Sponsor that embraces the values of the AAO and demonstrates them through their leadership, support of the festival, and commitment to the community in which we live.

2021: Feed My Starving Children


2020: Bella Solle Photography 

2019: The Woman's Club of Minneapolis

2018: Key Cadillac

2017: Northfield Lines

2016: Dan Stoltz-SPIRE Credit Union

2015: Bill Neuenschwander-Human on a Stick

2014: Minnetonka Power Squadron

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Helmsman Award

This award is presented to the coordinator who has demonstrated excellence in their overall management of their responsibilities.

2021: ReAnn Eidahl


2020: Ryan Lamberty - created virtual Aqua Week Celebration postings to encourage AAO  engagement 

2019: Kenny Devine- timely and exemplary social media presence for the AAO

2018: Kacey Gregerson-AAO Communications (website and social media)

            Terri Kane-Volunteer efforts across multiple events and activities

            Lisa Marek-Coronation Program Booklet

2017: Jeff DeKeuster-Visiting Dignitaries program

2016: Gary Schaak-Dedication to Scholarship Pin Imagery & Sales

2015: Rob & Amy Mauzy-Visiting Dignitaries program

           Rick McCaughtry-Senior Ambassador Transportation            

           Sarah Schrader-AAO Website Transition            

           Anna Suprenant-Candidate Hospitality & Slideshow

           Tzvetelina Pramatarov-Ambassador Wardrobe

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Outstanding Honorary Commodore Award

This award is chosen by a committee within AAO from the hundreds of Honorary Commodore recipients throughout the year.

2021: Kathy Scinto, Community of Lakeville

2020: John Rivers from the community of Maple Lake - a true volunteer, giving his time unselfishly over many years.

2019: Family of Brianna Klindworth Memorial Scholarship from the community of Red Wing

2018: Harvey Mickolichek from the community of Silver Lake

2017: Gerry & Don Smith from the community of Waverly

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Golden Anchor Award

This award recognizes an organization or individual outside of the AAO whose efforts contribute to current and future festivals and to public service in our communities.

2021: Ann Bailey

2020: Eastside Meals On Wheels -a wonderful organization that has helped many, many in need in the Minneapolis community.

2019: Minneapolis Aquatennial Senior Ambassador Association

2018: SPIRE Credit Union

2017: Matter

2016: Hennepin County History Museum-Honoring the History of the Aquatennial

2015: Pageant of Hope

2014: St. Paul Festival & Heritage Foundation

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