Our Seafair “secrets”

Love it or hate it, it’s here … the frenzied finale to Seattle’s biggest summer festival, Seafair. 2007-ba_08.jpgWe had been debating whether to take up space here with our Blue Angels and hydro obsessions interest, given that it’s not WS-specific, but bless the reader who wrote us to suggest we do exactly that … so here goes.

SECRET #1 — Watch the Blue Angels take off from and land at the Museum of Flight, which is at Boeing Field, just a few miles east of West Seattle. You don’t have to pay MOF admission to go stand along their fence and do this, although we highly recommend the very affordable MOF membership — it’s a unique Seattle institution worth supporting. This is always stirring, particularly on the Friday-Saturday-Sunday occasions, when you can see the full pageantry of the “walkdown,” the synchronized crew checks, the jet engine smoke, the feel-it-in-your-bones takeoffs … anyway, you can read our tales from last year: day 1 here, day 3 here, day 4 here. The Angels will have two takeoffs and landings during practices tomorrow (Thursday), then one each for the “rehearsal” show on Friday and the real deal on Saturday/Sunday.

SECRET #2 — “Free Friday.”

On Seafair Friday, you can go to the main hydro/airshow-watching zone on Lake Washington without paying the $25ish admission fee it’ll cost you on Saturday and Sunday. The hydros aren’t racing — they’re doing time trials — but you’ll see the same roostertails and hear the same roar. And the same air show. Our post from last year explains our favorite place to park (free) up the hill from the lake. Or, for a few bucks, you can take a shuttle.

SECRET #3 — Ticket deals, if you want to go to the official hydro races/airshow on Saturday and/or Sunday. Check this page on the Seafair website to find out about that.

Remember that if the weather isn’t close to crystal-clear, the Blue Angels do what they call the “low show.” Right now the forecast is iffy, but we have seen many Seafair days in the past start with cloudy mornings burning off to sunny afternoons, so we’re holding out a good thought.

Also remember, even if you’re trying your best to ignore all this craziness, you should know about the I-90 closures during the Blue Angels’ practices and shows.

Got a Seafair tip, secret, rant, whatever? Share it here.

35 Replies to "Our Seafair "secrets""

  • Elizabeth August 1, 2007 (3:09 pm)

    I love Seafair, but wasting literally thousands of tax dollars per hour in a country with so many social problems and using U.S. military equipment (and staff) for “entertainment” (propoganda?) is disgusting enough. Closing major roads and bridges in a congested city with inadequate public transportation and chronic traffic jams is really stupid. Flying military planes (in incredibly tight formations) right over the residential neighborhoods of a large city is unbelievably irresponsible, especially in light of recent accidents and deaths. (Never mind that the sound is torcher to many household pets). Just wait until a bunch of Seattle residents lose their homes and lives in the first crash. Everyone will say “why did we ever do that in the first place???” and it will be the end of this disgusting waste of resources once and for all.

  • Native August 1, 2007 (9:42 pm)


    Please drive your Prius to Vancouver for the weekend, so you don’t have to subject yourself to the “horror” that is the United States Military.

    Your post infers that you actually hope there is an accident to “end this disgusting waste of resources once and for all.”

    This aerial demonstration occurs once a year in Seattle, and it has for years. Please don’t be so narrow minded. Just sit back, enjoy the airshow, and don’t read so much into it.


  • Matt Durham August 2, 2007 (7:55 am)

    I too have great concerns over the U.S. Military establishment given unethical deployments, wasteful spending and lack of accountability. On the other hand, the Blue Angels are the one time I, as a taxpayer, receive a direct benefit, entertainment.
    The Blue Angles display the best of what humans are capable of-technology, skill, teamwork and dreams. These men and women have earned their position through hard work attaining the highest levels of intellect, physical conditioning and leadership.
    Risks are minimalized to the citizens and the pilots are selfless to the point where they will ride their failing plane to their death if it Enjoy the show.

  • Jim August 2, 2007 (11:02 am)

    While I don’t really agree with Elizabeth at least she doesn’t have the sarcastic attitude of “Native”. Sarcastic and divisive remarks about Prius drivers (and No, I’m not one myself) really don’t do anything to address the discussion – not that you seem interested in a real discussion…

    Let’s keep the blog a place for discussions. If you disagree with someone, just say so and cut the personal insults.

  • Andre August 2, 2007 (12:10 pm)

    I have to agree with Elisabeth with regards to them flying so low over residential neighborhoods. At one point I could almost recognize the helmets of the pilots from our living room window. If something goes wrong at that very moment even the best pilot will not be able to pull the jet away from disaster. I personally would have a hard time accepting tragedy caused by carelessness… Besides pets the noise also causes a fair amount of discomfort for infants and young children.

    At the same time I actually enjoy the flight shows, but a bit more consideration (and caution) could actually make them work for everyone and dial down the risk for tragedy.

  • Sue August 2, 2007 (12:36 pm)

    I am also uncomfortable with the air show as I suffer from post-traumatic stress issues after being in Manhattan on 9/11. The last thing I need is to hear a low flying plane while I’m sitting here in one of the tallest buildings downtown.

  • Elizabeth August 2, 2007 (2:50 pm)

    I’m glad my earlier comments illicited some actual conversation! And I appreciate Jim’s comments above. Sometimes it seems like you can’t have a strong opinion any more about something without being derided, ridiculed, and attacked rather than just respectfully debated.

    In response to Native, I CERTAINLY DON’T hope that an accident occurs!! Good god, I volunteer my free time saving animals! You really think I want to see people killed and lives destroyed?? That would never even occur to me. I’m just saying that in light of recent accidents, some at airshows, I think it’s incredibly irresponsible to allow these planes to fly right over densely populated residential neighborhoods. And I wouldn’t be surprised if there was an accident one day. Remember, ALL it would take is ONE PERSON MAKING ONE SMALL MISTAKE! How do you think people would react if that happened?

    PS – I’ll be walking on to the Vashon Ferry this weekend and actually, I don’t have a Prius. Believe it or not, I don’t have a car at all! And I live in Seattle! And I survive! (Can you imagine???). I use the Water Taxi and buses regularly, and use Flexcar every so often. And I highly recommend it to anyone for whom public transportation is workable and is sick of sitting in horrible traffic every day! :-)

  • Lou August 2, 2007 (3:02 pm)

    I respectfully disagree with Elizabeth. I love the blue angels and their flight shows and I do not have a problem with them flying around the city one weekend a year. I have kids and pets and I find the noise a small price to pay for seeing the absolute best in flying.

    I’m much more concerned about the cessna’s (some twin engines) that fly less than 500ft AGL over west seattle landing in my backyard than a blue angels crash. Remember, that person flying the cessna could easily have a whole 40 hours of training…not the thousands of hours the blue angel pilots have. In addition, I would be more concerned with the daily flights in and out of seatac than about the blue angels flying around once per year.

    As for wasting tax payer money – let’s get rid of things like the Seahawks and Mariners…my god, don’t they waste a lot of money and look at those salaries they get…I doubt the blue angels even make a small fraction of those salaries and these are the 6 best pilots in the country. Sorry if I sound miffed…but we waste a lot more money on sillier things then the blue angels.

    Disclaimer: I in no way want to get rid of the seahawks or mariners – I love sports…just trying to make a point.

    Just my $.02.

  • WSB August 2, 2007 (3:08 pm)

    Interesting comments. We’re throwing in one of our own … discovered a new spot to see lots of the air action without going to the lake or even Boeing Field: The Costco parking lot. If you happen to be there between about 1:30 pm and 2:40 pm any of the next three days, check it out. (On our way to Costco, “Fat Albert” the Blue Angels’ support plane, which goes up before the jets, buzzed us on Harbor Ave.)

  • The House August 2, 2007 (9:44 pm)

    Oh, my gosh did that first comment make me laugh hard. I can’t believe someone besides be had the gall to bring up wasting tax dollars and it has to do with the Blue Angels….WHAT A JOKE?? Elizabeth, what about the billions of dollars that are spent to fund lazy people on welfare (food stamps, subssidized housing, etc)?? If I was Maverick, I’d do a flyby above your house tomorrow.

    Check out the BA site….each plane is $21 million dollars (total of $84 million). We spend $400 billion dollars annually on public welfare assistance annually!! If you want to really eliminate the majority of our wasted tax dollars please start there.

  • Kay Daniels August 2, 2007 (10:19 pm)

    I am with Elizabeth. She is taking a good hard look at the colossal waste of fuel for entertainment. Nascar, Hydros, The Blue Angles (sure they are pretty, neat, and fast) monster truck bashes, demolition derbys,snowmobiles,tractor pulls, ect…….can’t people find something to do for entertainment under their own steam? Pedal a bike, take a jog, run in race, take a bus to a dog show, stay home and get drunk, have sex with your lover! I see no practical reason for waste. All you speed obsessed folks are probably the loudest nay sayers about global warming and hate Al Gore like poison. Watch much Fox? Yup..thought so.

  • Native August 2, 2007 (11:00 pm)

    Okay, so maybe I came on a little strong with the Prius comment. But it really irks me to hear people moan about Seafair, and the Blue Angels in particular. I held my tongue on the posting a few weeks back where everyone was complaining how miserable the Pirates Landing at Alki was this year. By the way Elizabeth was using some very strong language that got me boiling a bit (example: disgusting, stupid, unbelievably irresponsible, torcher…whatever that means, and disgusting again)

    I’ve lived in West Seattle my whole life, and grew up anticipating Seafair each year. Seafair Sunday to me represents the crescendo of summer. It upsets me that every year there is a small contingent of people that whine and complain about it. (I’ve found that most people that complain about it, are not even from Seattle…Elizabeth?)

    The fact is, the jets fly for 4 out of 365 days a year here. I think we should be able to handle that, and take it for what it is…entertainment.

  • Elizabeth August 3, 2007 (10:19 am)

    This is fun. Blogging is new to me. Actually, I must admit I’m not from Seattle. I’m from London (hence the misspellings), but I’ve lived here for almost 20 years. I truly have always loved Seafair, especially the parades and festivals (which give us opportunities to learn about other cultures). It’s the specific use of U.S. military planes for entertainment that causes me grief. I think it’s bad enough in concept (wasteful, noisy, traffic clogging, etc), but I also think it’s just irresponsible and dangerous to allow it over a major city. Are you aware that one of the Blue Angel pilots flying here this week is a replacement for the pilot that was just killed in the crash of one of these same planes at the air show in Sounth Carolina just a few months ago??? He made a simple mistake (which he could just as easily have made right over downtown Seattle) and crashed to his death. That shows this IS dangerous!!! I don’t know, perhaps coming from a city that was bombed and almost destroyed by war planes not so long ago is part of it. That history is very recent to most Europeans. My grandparents (who harbored Jews in the Netherlands during WWII) always warned us not to give in to military propoganda (parades, floats, marching bands, etc). Believe me, these entertainment venues are a calculated attempt to create positive feelings and associations with the military. The Nazis used grand parades and shows of military might with aplomb. I’m not saying that the Blue Angels in themselves promulgate war. But it’s all part of the same calculated thing and ultimately, creating “warm and fuzzy” feelings about the military is dangerous. Look at what happened in this country when the Bush Admin. was ready to invade Iraq. They ultimately answer to us, but they were able to invade at their whim partly because most Americans don’t think of their military as strictly DEFENSIVE (as it should be). Rather, they think of it as an organization full of “heroes” and everyone was busy waving their flags instead of asking “is the administration telling us the truth?” or “have they shown there are really weapons of mass destruction there?” or “what are the risks to us if we invade?”. And at the time, there WERE people shouting “ask questions” and “we shouldn’t go in without proof”!. But their cries were drowned out. Now that thousands of Americans (and tens of thousands of Iraqis) are dead and Iraq is a disaster (just as the vast majority of the rest of the world predicted), most Americans now think it was a big mistake. Well, it’s too late for all those people who lost their lives. Organizations like the Blue Angels, the marching bands, and all the miltary based “charities” do help the military be more aggressive and less accountable. You may think I’m reading too much into it, but I honestly think world history would support my argument. Thank you.

  • Anne August 3, 2007 (11:50 am)

    How very sad that somehow you can equate the Blue Angels with Nazis!!!

  • Native August 3, 2007 (11:58 am)


    Okay, so I now know where you are coming from. Let’s be honest… you really don’t care about the wasteful, noisy, traffic clogging, dangerous aspect of this performance. Clearly it is your deep disdain for this country and it’s military might that has you upset. (I’m not really sure why you continue to live in The United States if you despise It and It’s military so much.)

    Just so you know where I am coming from: I agree fully with your view on the Iraq war, and this joke of an administration. I am a registered Democrat and actually support the party (financially and otherwise) on a regular basis. I am not a veteran of the US Military, and although I despise our current administration, I FULLY support our military and our troops.

    Now, back to the subject. Seafair is a celebration , and the Blue Angels are an demonstration team that make up a portion of the event each year. It is a show, they are not trying to “recruit you” to become a pilot for the Air Force. Just sit back and enjoy it, or, make your way out of the city for the day.

    You are reading to much into this. I know I will not change your (or the rest of the minority of narrow minded extremists) minds on this, so I will let it rest.

    By the way, welcome to the WSB. Good debate is healthy (and usually quite enjoyable).


  • Lou August 3, 2007 (2:10 pm)

    Yeah…I don’t get equating the Blue Angels with Nazis…that is a bit of stretch. Also, I never once supported the Iraq war but still appreciate/support the Blue Angels. Again, worrying about a Blue Angels plane crashing in Seattle seems silly to me given the numerous planes from Boeing Field and Seatac that fly over our city each day – or maybe we should move the aiports 100 miles away from the city? Anyway, I don’t believe we would ever agree on this subject so we’ll just agree to disagree. BTW, I am watching the Blue Angels buzz my building now as I type this :-)

  • Oscar August 3, 2007 (3:30 pm)

    Just got back from watching the Blue Angels at the CostCo parking lot. I was planning on putting up a post thanking WSB for the viewing tip. Then I saw all this crazy talk by Elizabeth where she puts the Nazi Party on the same level as the Blue Angels. Frankly, that disgusts me. Elizabeth says she wants to have a debate and not just be attacked or ridiculed. However, she tries to gain sympathy for her cause by bringing up being an animal rescuer and related to people who supported the Jews during the Holocaust. Yet, these arguments have nothing to do with the issue at hand and are merely her attempt to get some bloggers on her side.

    So returning to the point, I LOVE the Blue Angels. I appreciate the absolute skill and fearlessness that is required to fly those planes at crazy speeds and doing elaborate tricks and close formations. I would gladly give up some tax payer dollars to continue to support them. That being said, I hate the war in Iraq, George Bush, and all that crap. Yet, we need a military and if someone chooses to join based on seeing the Blue Angels, then that is their choice.

    I find it outrageous and demeaning to people who have suffered at the hands of the Nazi party to equate Hitler’s propoganda to try and exterminate an entire race of people with the beauty that is the Blue Angels. I’m sure most people don’t even know which branch of the military they are associated with, much less make the leap that by watching the Blue Angels then I am supporting the war in Iraq.

    I think Lou makes an excellent point that the chances of anyone getting hurt in a Blue Angels crash is miniscule when compared to the chance of a low flying cessna crashing given the relative skill levels of the pilots. I’m sure there are statitics out there about how many people have been hurt/killed by planes flown by private citizens as opposed to those hurt due to an air show mishap.

    Anyway, just want to state my awe and support for the Blue Angels. They were awesome this afternoon. I did notice that there were only 5 flying when there are usually 6. Anyone know why? And, in the future, please do not compare the Blue Angels to something as horrible and serious as the Nazi Party and the Holocaust. It trivializes that huge important part of history.

  • eric August 3, 2007 (5:02 pm)

    Anne: Agreed.
    Elizabeth: You are one sick puppy.

    You’ll fit in well in Seattle.

  • Dis August 3, 2007 (8:29 pm)

    Elizabeth is NOT a sick puppy and she NEVER indicated disdain for the United States. She opened up about her thoughts and feelings and revealed things about herself and her past, and you folks wasted no time in raking her over the coals. If you don’t know how to debate and discuss without resorting to venom and personal insult, you should keep your thoughts to yourself. Her life experiences in Europe were vastly different than yours in the United States. You can’t assume that everyone has the same mindset and context that you do. She never equated the Nazis precisely with the Blue Angels – she was speaking conceptually. She could tell you a thing or two about the Holocaust and I’m disgusted that people would dare to denigrate her and her experiences. Her observations have value, but she’s talking over your heads. What if someone came from Vietnam or even….Iraq, and the sound of the Blue Angels frightened them, and they ran inside their house and hid in the basement? Would you laugh at them and make fun of them? Maybe you would tell them to go back where they came from if they couldn’t appreciate the United States. Certainly, when they had the courage to come outside again, you would have absolutely no respect for them. This is why the rest of the world thinks Americans are ignorant and cruel.

  • Lou August 3, 2007 (9:19 pm)

    She brought this debate on herself with her tone, examples and word choice…if anything she baited people so she could make it personal. oh and don’t forget the ‘This is fun’ comment…she clearly enjoys this…

  • The House August 3, 2007 (11:11 pm)

    There is so much mental pollution coming from some folks that I believe it’s driving global warming. Dis & Elizabeth, if the Blue Angels scare you then seek therapy or poke your head in the sand and hide while they’re here for 4 days. To answer your question, Dis, no I would not make fun of someone that was scared of them but I would turn to my wife and call them something inappropriate. The original comments discussed her disgust for the BAs and how much of a waste and danger they are. Driving your vehicle on I-5 presents a much higher risk of death than the BAs flying overhead. This is a classic example of making mountains out of molehills and in my opinion people that have such gross negative thoughts about something like SeaFair should evaluate what it is in their life that really drives them to have so much anger. Life really is good.

  • Lola August 4, 2007 (12:00 pm)

    Was wondering about the person that keeps talking mentioning the costco parking lot, which Costco is this? Theres a few of them around here.
    Does anyone have any good places to watch the Angels on the eastside. I really dont want to fight crowds and cross the bridge.

  • Oscar August 4, 2007 (8:39 pm)

    I watched from the CostCo parking lot on 4th near the W. Seattle Bridge. I am not aware of places on the Eastside for viewing but I’m sure there are some.

  • Dis August 4, 2007 (8:44 pm)

    Lou, the “this is fun” comment I interpreted as a child-like joy in discovering something new and compelling – until then, the discussion had been fairly civil. I’m sure the notion of fun was quickly transformed once the onslaught of insults started. And no House, the Blue Angels do not scare me. If you knew anything about me, you would know how ludicrous your unfounded statement is. What does scare me is insolent ignorance and pathological ethnocentrism. That scares me a lot. I’m not too keen on cruelty either.

  • Lou August 4, 2007 (9:19 pm)

    Hahahaha….Dis, you are cracky me up…The conversation had not been civil – Elizabeth began by being antagonistic and kept it going…Her “child-like joy” statement was followed by equating, yes equating, the blue angels to the Nazis…That’s what she did plain and simple. Oh well, this has been fun…wait, that line was already used.

  • Oliver August 4, 2007 (10:36 pm)

    After all of these comments I would just like to suggest that anyone reading this take a moment of silence for the men and women with incredibly difficult jobs who have decided to try to improve their countries and their own lives with military service. For many people, the decision to join the military is not about politics, glory, or the lack thereof. But it is about basic survival. The real truth is that our military is strongest form of socialism that often helps those who have been given no other option. Take my brother. His is a recovering meth addict, who at one time suffered from paraonoid delusions and was homeless. His drug abuse closed a lot of doors. But the Army accepted him and is giving him a future that he did not have as a homeless drug addict. Don’t get me wrong, I despise the current administration and hope that my brother does not end up in Iraq. But I feel deep respect and admiration for those who have chosen to try to improve their lives by serving our contry.

    Getting back to the point of the Blue Angels, everyone in the military has a tough job and they are regular folks like you and I. Who the f**** is anyone to degrade them for having some fun with public recognition.

  • don gregory April 13, 2008 (9:48 am)

    am trying to find pictures or newspaper articles about a blue angels plane crash that i witnessed on april 21st. 1962 in north seattle. the plane was one of the blue angels flying during the opening ceremonies of the seattle worlds fair when i tell people about it they don’t believe that it happened. any help would be greatly appreciated. thank you–don

  • ZumZ June 24, 2008 (3:42 pm)

    >>>Who the f**** is anyone to degrade them for having some fun with public recognition.

    You meant denigrade.

    Oh, and you are wrong. Seattle is one of the most patriotic cities because its citizenry doesn’t give any organization or government branch a free pass without scrutiny. We recognize that sticking a Support our Troops sticker on our car isn’t patriotic – it’s ingenuous.
    “Trust but verify.” As a nation we could be truly patriotic if we just adopted that simple idea.

  • Mist July 31, 2008 (12:12 pm)

    I don’t think it was a Blue Angel that crashed. Here is a link to an article but no pictures.

    anybody got a good place on the eastside to watch them?

  • none August 1, 2008 (5:45 pm)

    I find the Blue Angels inspiring and just plain good entertainment. I hope they keep coming to Seafair for years and years.

  • Peggy August 2, 2008 (10:04 am)

    I will be driving in today with my grandchildren to watch the fabulous Blue Angels!!! I will be coming from the South Center/Westfield area and am wondering if anyone knows a good viewing site for the show, (other than W Seattle Costco, which I see mentioned previously. Thanks! Can’t wait!

  • WSB August 2, 2008 (10:20 am)

    Hi – a lot of people go to Genesee Playfield in the Beacon Hill/South Seattle area – any open space along the top of Beacon Hill/Rainier Valley ridge above Lake Washington would do – and there are many places to see flybys – but the full show itself is only visible from someplace on Lake Washington – I have never done this myself but there’s a viewpoint on the west end of the I-90 bridge that gets crowded with people – Mercer Island would seem to have a good view too – we still highly recommend the Museum of Flight vantage point about which we have written, for at least one of the days!

  • BobLoblaw August 2, 2008 (12:42 pm)


  • WSB August 2, 2008 (3:44 pm)

    Oh, zzz away, but for some reason this is in the top few results for googling “where to see the blue angels in seattle” so it draws in at least a thousand bonus visits every year. Can’t believe more people aren’t writing about it, either the pros or the cons or the how-tos.

  • buzzeye August 3, 2008 (6:15 pm)

    Dis says the rest of the world believes Americans to be ignorant and cruel? Where’s the evidence for this wild statement? There is some evidence that the Germans, French and Spanish do in fact dispise America – but that’s not “the world.” Please don’t confuse governments around the world with people around the world. Many governments dispise America, but most of those are dictatorships. Immigration data shows that vast quantities of people around the world are trying to get IN America, not out of America. Perhaps it’s because we prosperous enough to pay for a strong military to defend our way of life.

Sorry, comment time is over.