Seafair is the only time we retract our statement, “Why do all those rich people choose to live on Lake Washington — if we had that many bucks, we’d buy a shoreline mansion on Beach Drive.” We spent about four hours today executing our annual plan to enjoy the Seafair Free Friday events — the Blue Angels, the “not Blue Angels” airshow, and hydro qualifying. Got our best waterfront “seat” yet …
One thing for West Seattleites to remember when trying to figure out where to park to walk down to Seafair — in South Seattle, many of the west-east streets have the same names, in the same order, as their counterparts in West Seattle. So we wound up parked on Hinds, not far south of Hanford, a ways north of Genesee (which of course is the namesake of Genesee Park, next to the hydro pits).
We are of the age where if we only do something once a year, we can’t quite remember, year to year, the intricacies of getting there — if intricacies are involved. So earlier in the week, we drove Lake Washington Boulevard to find the name of the hillside street we walk down to reach the water, after parking up among the lakeview mansionlets. This street, if you care, is Horton. So our prime waterfront viewing spot turned out to be at Horton and Lake Washington, if you want to Mapquest it, as we did. (Helpful tip we didn’t verify till walking back up the hill — Hinds has a set of connector stairs and a right-of-way path that cuts between a few of the mansions.)
Anyway, enough about directions. If you are going this weekend, note that the food/vendor booths at Genesee Park are handing out more freebies than ever, or so said one member of the West Seattle Blog entourage who checked them out and returned with items including a hat, a handheld fan, a very nice Boeing-logo water bottle, and assorted refrigerator magnets. Just be sure to be armed with a faux address that looks real, unless you don’t mind getting months of junk mail afterward from whichever vendor asked you to sign something to procure the freebie.
Also, if you’ve never been down to the Lake Washington shore for this sort of spectator activity, be forewarned that it’s steep in spots. With just a bit of a push, we probably could have sledded on our tatami beach mats.
Our fellow spectators were a cheery lot. Between the hydro qualifying and the Blue Angels, they rooted rowdily for a passing formation of six Canada geese — same number as the usual Angels complement — though I suspect one dropped out of today’s practice around a third of the way through; the squadron never totaled more than five during the group maneuvers in the back half of the show, and only one soloist appeared for several of the stunts usually done by both.
As for the hydros, we missed the morning’s big flip. The qualifying runs we saw were all close to picture-perfect: Crane puts hydro in water, hydro goes fast for a couple minutes, announcer mumbles the qualifying time, hydro comes back, next one goes out.
Just remember this: If the hydros are in the water, don’t go wading in the lake. A small boat full of very officious officials will race over (bearing a banner along the lines of SHORE LEAD 1) with someone hollering “GET OUT OF THE WATER! THE BOATS ARE STILL OUT!”
Look, if a hydro is going to take the waders out, it’s gonna smush us shore-huggers too.