Seafair A Seattle Tradition

Seafair A Seattle Tradition

The annual Seafair is happening this weekend Friday, July 31 – Sunday August 2 at Genesee Park on Lake Washington! One of the biggest annual events in the Puget Sound and Seattle is enjoyed by many each year and this year the U.S. Navy Blue Angels are back to be soaring in the sky above. 

There are so many events to be enjoyed during Seafair weekend. In addition to the Blue Angels, on Friday there is a Boeing Seafair Air Show which features an autograph session with Pilots.  On Saturday, if you are interested in water sports they have the Hydroplane races happening all throughout the day on Lake Washington. Throughout the weekend, visitors will enjoy lots of live music, cooking demos, Miss Seafair, and so much more! There is even a special KidZone for the little ones to enjoy.

Seafair was originally developed in an era when Seattle did not have any major league sports team and the city was looking for a big event to put Seattle on the map and create a name for themselves. The planning of the first Seafair was intended to be for the city’s centennial in 1951-1952, but Walter Van Camp, who had been hired to help with the event, didn’t want to wait,  so the first Seafair was in 1950. In March of 1950 they planned a 10-day event in August that would feature boat races, amateur athletic events and lots of community activities. In only 75 days the 5,000 seat Green Lake Aqua Theater was built.

The intention for Seafair has always been to bring together members of local communities. Some of the same events that were featured in the first Seafair back in 1950, still go on today. This includes the West Seattle Hi-Yu days, Rainier District Pow-wow, Wallingford Pirate Days, the University District Kid’s Parade and the Ballard Festival.

The first Seafair Grande Parade was held Saturday August 12, 1950 and drew in nearly 250,000 viewers. Now the parade is called the Torchlight Parade and it is considered to be the largest nighttime parade in all the Northwest.

Hydroplane racing is a large part of Seafair and they first made their appearance at the second annual Seafair on Lake Washington. Not only does Seafair still feature the hydroplane racing, but they also have F1-Prop Tour Racing, the Hyper lite Seafair Wakeboard Experience, entertainment stages, food vendors, fireworks, and of course the Boeing Air Show.

The U.S. Military is also a large part of the Seafair festivities. The magnificent ships are available for public tours on Elliot Bay. This year there will be demonstrations from Coast Guard Rescue teams, Marine Fleet aircraft and of course the Blue Angels will be preforming, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Seafair pirates caught their origin from an early legend created for Seafair, wherein King Neptune and his royal court would battle pirates for control of the city and the festival. The original pirates banded together in 1949 and were members of the Washington State Press Club’s Ale & Quail Society. Seafair starts with the landing of the Pirates at Alki beach and the swashbucklers are prominent figures at many Seafair events throughout the summer.

 What started as 10-day event back in 1950 now spans throughout summer. Seafair begins each season in mid-June and also puts on the Fourth of July fireworks over Lake Union. Seafair’s big finale is the Seafair Weekend Celebration, which will take place this year on July 31- August 2 and is the 65th year of celebrating this special Seattle tradition. For more information about Seafair, please visit

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Dated: July 31st 2015
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