Posts Tagged ‘celebration’

Father Louis HennepinWho is Father Louis Hennepin?

Every year, Champlin celebrates its community heritage with a three–day celebration in honor of Father Louis Hennepin.

“He’s the person we named that festival after,” said my 16-year old son when I asked if he knew of Father Hennepin.  “He must have explored this area because we have Hennepin Avenue and Hennepin bridge named after him, I assume,” said my husband. And, me? I admit. I have no idea, which is why I went looking online for more information.

According to Wikipedia, Louis Hennepin was born in Belgium in 1626, and later became a Catholic priest. In the 1670s, Hennepin  explored the Great Lakes aboard Le Griffon.

Two great waterfallswere brought to the world’s attention by Louis Hennepin: Niagara Falls, with the most voluminous flow of any in North America, and the Saint Anthony Falls in what is now Minneapolis, the only waterfall on the Mississippi River.  

 Here are a few places named after Hennepin:

  • Hennepin Avenue, in Minneapolis
  • The Father Louis Hennepin Bridge, across the Mississippi River in Minneapolis
  • Father Hennepin State Park, in Isle, Minnesota
  • Hennepin Road in Grand Island, New York
  • Hennepin Avenue on Cayuga Island in Niagara Falls, New York
  • Father Hennepin and Champlin

    So, what do Father Hennepin and Champlin have in common? Why does Champlin celebrate the explorer? In 1680, historians report Hennepin first crossed the Mississippi where he was captured by the Sioux Indians and brought to what is now the Mississippi Point Park in Champlin.

    Champlin first celebrated Father Hennepin in 1929, but it wasn’t until 1976 that the Father Hennepin Festival, which we know today, was first celebrated. “The Bicentennial Committee of citizens and schools restarted the Father Hennepin Festival celebration,” said City of Champlin Recreation Supervisor Andy Singleton.  

    Each year, on the 2nd weekend in June a three-day celebration begins with a parade, amusement rides and live music. With an estimated 5,000 to 8,000 people attendind the event, family, youth and adult activities occur all weekend long—including a reenactment of Father Hennepin crossing the Mississippi River.

    Father Hennepin Festival: 2008

    The Father Hennepin Festival will be held June 13-15, 2008, with activities beginning on Friday, June 13 at 11:30. For a complete list of events, click here. Also, read about Friday night’s cover band Orange Whip.

             Watch a video of the Father Hennepin Festival 2007 fireworks display 
             from the air

     Get involved: volunteer!

    Today, the Father Hennepin Festival Committee is comprised of six community residents, recreation staff and a City Council representative.  The committee strives to create a festival for the whole community to enjoy.  If you would like to be a part of the festival committee or volunteer, contact Singleton at asingleton@ci.champlin.mn.us or 763-923-7193. 


    Read Full Post »