From Cabins to Homes

Maple Plain Water Carnival
Undated photo of water skier
Credit: Maple Plain Museum
1956 carnival pin
Credit: Maple Plain Museum

     Every August from 1952  to 1956, the Maple Plain Civic and Commerce Association sponsored a water carnival on Lake Independence, with carnival rides, speedboat races and waterskiing shows.

     Speedboat and hydroplane races were organized by the Midwest Power Boating Association. The 1954 races featured over 100 drivers from seven states, including two world record holders.

     In 1954, the water skiing event was “Ski Antics of 1954”, a nationally-touring show produced by Baddor Brothers of Minneapolis.  Their acts included a blind skier, a “drunk act”, a one-legged skier, a Great Dane dog on skis, “Paul Bunyan from the Northland” and a fire jump.

     In 1956, the water skiing show was performed by “Pat Guy and his Whizz Kids”. The show featured 15 different acts including a pyramid, upside-down and backward skiing, ski jumping, barefoot skiing and a clown act. The events included a night-time performance with special lighting.

     The 1956 Water Carnival included a parade of “bathing beauties,” billed as an opportunity for amateur photographers. Cedric Adams, a popular Star-Tribune columnist, in the August 5, described the event: “(The) parade of lovelies, headed by Marie Miller, Miss Minnesota of 1956, will do special posing on a ramp built out over Lake Independence. The girls will trot out and pose indefinitely for the lens lads. Cheesecake at its best.”

Undated photo of hydroplane race
Credit: Maple Plain Museum

© 2021 by Robin Reid. Created with

DISCLAIMER: I have collected information from a variety of sources, some verifiable, some anecdotal. I've made every effort to ensure accurate information but I can't promise that all of the content is factual. If you recognize any errors, please let me know. Thank you.