SEATTLE – Thousands of people packed local parks and shorelines Saturday to kick off the much anticipated Seafair weekend.
Organizers say that at the end of the weekend, they expect at least 160,000 people will have turned out for Seafair events on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Perhaps the biggest draw of the weekend is the U.S. Navy Blue Angels Air Show. Crowds say the show was as good as ever Saturday, despite all the haze.
People watched in wonder at Seattle’s Mount Baker Park as the high-speed jets streaked across the sky, reaching speeds of nearly 700 miles-per-hour.
“They’re pretty cool, I like when they go into formation,” said one young spectator.
Every year, organizers say the Blue Angels are the highlight of Seafair. People watched Saturday from boats, chairs and floaties in the water.
There were lots of questions this year if there would be changes to the show due to smoke from the wildfires in British Columbia.
“It’s a little bit disappointing,” Robert Walker, a spectator Saturday, said. “Normally, we have such great weather here right now.”
Walker was the Flight Engineer on Fat Albert, a Blue Angels aircraft, about 10 years ago.
Though the skies might not be as bright and blue as he had hoped, it’s not dampening the enthusiasm of the crowd.
“They’re pros, they know what they’re doing,” A Seafair organizer said. “I think they can fly in anything, so a bit of hazy smoke doesn’t faze them.”
By all accounts, Seafair officials say Saturday’s airshow went off without a hitch.
Mercer Island Police and Washington State Patrol say there was a drone flying about 100 feet above the water Friday.
A spokesperson for the blue Angels says that the drone didn’t affect the pilots’ performances.
The Blue Angels will also be performing Sunday.