Sunday, August 2, 2009

Seattle Seafair

There are two things that Seattlites take quite seriously - airplanes and boats -and we combine them in the culmination of the weeks long area celebration of summer, Seafair. That final event is the Seafair Cup Hydroplane Races and Air Show. Locals gather on the shores of Lake Washington to watch boats fly over the top of the lake and jets fly just above it. Friday is free and includes qualifying of the unlimited hydros (the big boats), unlimited lights (smaller but fast boats) and a practice performance of the Navy Blue Angels. Saturday and Sunday there is an admission charge, racing each day, and the air show. We have for years gone as a family on Friday, and then the big kids go again for the races on Sunday, while we stay home, now with the grandkids, and watch on TV. We set off early Friday morning for the first leg of the journey, riding the newly opened Link Light Rail. Then we shuttled by bus to the lake. The train was great, and a new experience for all of us.
We found a spot in the shade near the hydroplane pits. We watched some boat qualifying and then took a tour of the pits to get up close with the hydros.
In the pits they have a rule against open toed shoes, and Jill got caught. The solution was "racing tape" courtesy of the Formula One Racing Team, whose boats are red.
Now she's well protected.
Isaac was impressed by the size of the piston engine still used in one of the big boats. Piston engines were once used exclusively and are loved for their thunderous noise, hence, thunder boats, as the were fondly called.
He also got to meet the driver of his favorite boat, Steve David of the Oh Boy, Oberto Team.
Most of the big boats are now powered by turbine engines, originally from Chinook helicopters.
Back on the beach, we settled in to watch boats, eat our picnic lunch, and watch the air show.
One of the top contenders, the U-1 Oh Boy, Oberto...
...and the red Formula boat.
After testing and qualifying, the hydros are hauled out of the water and back on the trailers.
The crowds begin to gather and fill up the shore, in anticipation of the Blue Angels.
The log boom fills up with boats, like this sweet little number, and the boats fill up with watchers.
Much to the chagrin of motorists, the I-90 bridge is closed to traffic, and fills up with foot traffic.
The Blue Angels are preceded by their cargo plane, Fat Albert, who has a few tricks of his own.
Then it's time for the Blues.
When the air show was over we worked our way back home, by bus, train and car. We were hot and tired, but we all had a great time.
Jill and Corey joined Jake back at the lake today, where I understand Jill was captured by pirates. Arrrgh!


  1. what a fun day. we are coming to Seattle on Sat, Aug 22nd to visit two of our kids who live in the area. Anything going on that weekend of interest? Also any suggestions on vacation home rentals for a week next summer. Thinking of coming up for my big 70 birthday and invite my family and 6 grand kiddies and their parents if we can get them all in one place since they live in Santa Fe and Utah. Looks like there's lots to do in the area.

  2. Looks like great fun and very colorful.

  3. I feel like I was there. Thanks for letting me tag along.

  4. This is all so awesome and you have the most gorgeous grandkids.


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