Since you are coming from MN...I would suggest launching in Racine, WI or at Northpoint Marina in Waukegan, IL. Both have excellent ramps, good parking, nearby accomodations (esp. Racine) and you've got a nice ride down to the city for the show. It is WAY better to see it by water...by land, you can expect to find yourself in a crowd the likes of which you have never seen. Stay to the outside of the crowd...drop an anchor, and enjoy.