2015 Seattle Seafair

IMG_1602Lest anyone think we’ve been neglecting our festival going of late, I wanted to share some thoughts and pictures from our most recent adventure at the 2015 Seattle Seafair!

We had a perfect weekend for outdoor activities, and Sunday was no exception. Our friends were able to get us discounted tickets to Seafair through their Boeing employment so we met up with them the night before to get our tickets and determine our plans for the morning.

We decided to watch the show from the main viewing area since this was our first time attending so we packed up early in order to arrive at Genesee Park by 7 a.m. Parking was outrageous ($40/car– yikes!), but we were able to get in line and have our bags checked before the gates opened.

Some people literally ran to get seats along the water. We weren’t nearly as aggressive. We walked through all the booths and tents that were just opening up for the day, grabbing some free tote bags, coozies and jerky.

Brian and I set up space along the bank of Lake Washington across from the pits and under a tree so we had some decent shade and a great view of the boats being placed in and pulled out of the water.

We also had some incredible seats for people watching. I think my husband might have taken more pictures of our fellow attendees than the boats and planes!

Our friends arrived a little while later, and we secured our spot before the masses arrived just prior to the opening ceremonies at 10 a.m. I couldn’t believe how the banks filled in one the activities began– you could hardly cut a path through the people and up to the road in order to walk back to the vendor booths or other facilities.

Everyone had to stay on the bank during the boating events, but people were allowed to swim in designated areas before the activities got underway and during the air shows. I loved the duck and ducklings that kept swimming along the bank– they weren’t even afraid of the boys in floats below.

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The schedule was packed and the first race was the hydroplane finals.

Brian took some awesome photos of the cranes moving the boats in and out of the water as well as of the race itself. It was fun listening to the boats gun their engines and warm up on the dock before they were lifted into the water.

Some people paid for pit passes, and we would see the occasional scissor lift taking a platform of people up into the air for what had to be a pretty incredible view of the water sports.

I loved the huge wall of water when the boats flew around the bend on either end of the circuit. I also loved the snow-topped mountains and boats in the background of our view!

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The first air show was a series of stunts by several pilots with the John Klatt Air Show.

There were two that flew together, ridiculously close at times and tumbling through the air at others. I found myself holding my breath when they would fly straight up, seemingly stall out and then head straight back down to Earth before pulling up in a steep arch over the water.

The biplane was also neat and executed a number of stunts with the air field all to itself. It did several tailspins with smoke flying that made it look like it was stumbling through the sky. The announcer mentioned that the pilot had so many hours of experience that it was the equivalent of someone taking off and not landing for two straight years!

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During the following hydroplane heats people jumped back in the water to cool off. I was actually really comfortable under our tree– it was cooler than the previous day at the beach, and it stayed relatively cloudy.

Most of the people around us were fine, enjoying themselves and enjoying the show. However, we were lucky enough to have one woman right in front of us who was putting on her own show the entire time. From sneaking in her beer to setting up her chair six inches in front of my husband to hollering at her daughter Stephanie to blowing cigarette smoke in our faces to staking out a spot for her physically handicapped husband to sit in the shade, she had more going on than any of us originally anticipated.

We never did catch her name, although she tried to buddy up to Brian on several occasions, but we quickly learned her husband’s name, Steve, because she would float around in her inner tube yelling at him until he waved back. She nearly fell in on several occasions because of all her flailing around, much to the entertainment of everyone on the bank. She was one of several interesting characters we met that day.

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Our unnamed warrior
Her husband, Steve
Her husband, Steve

The most anticipated air show of the day was the Blue Angels’ performance around noon, but I was really impressed with the Breitling Jet Team that performed mid-morning.

They performed all kinds of acrobatics and some of their close fly-bys (which, according to their website, have them flying 3 meters apart at 700 kph!) took my breath away. Sometimes all seven would fly together while other times they would break apart and do individual or partnered stunts. At the end, they all rose up together and then broke apart as they set off fireworks– it was quite a show!

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There were a few other air show activities throughout the morning, including a Coast Guard demonstration where they had someone jump out of a helicopter into the water and then perform a rescue. It’s incredible how still and stable the helicopter remains during that exercise.

I also really enjoyed the Air Force F-22 Raptor, which was incredibly loud and fast!, and the Harrier Jump Jet– what an incredible plane! I don’t know much about planes, but watching that thing hold still in mid-air and complete controlled turns, like a helicopter, was fascinating.

The final air show we watched was the highlight– the C-130 Fat Albert and the U.S. Navy Blue Angels.

It seemed like the Blue Angels were hell-bent on showing up the Breitling team. At one point they had a really fast fly-by but then had another plane soar over you from behind– my heart stopped and everyone was cheering in surprise. You wouldn’t think something so loud could sneak up on you, but when they’re traveling that fast, the sound doesn’t hit you until it’s too late!

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After the Blue Angels it seemed like half the crowd picked up to go home. We weren’t far behind– it was a fun but exhausting weekend and we had been up since before 5 a.m.

We watched the next two rounds of boat races while the crowd dispersed. It was actually pretty exciting because the powerboats ran on a smaller circuit that was closer to us so you could really see them fly by and turn right at our bank!

They raced some newer powerboats, which had a unique shape I’d never seen before, and then they put in a couple of vintage powerboats, which my husband loved.

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After the powerboats we decided to call it a day. We missed the huge bout of traffic, but it still took us a while to get home and settle down in preparation for the week ahead.

Another wonderful weekend, this time on the waters of Lake Washington! We will be back!

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