Tens of thousands turn out to see the Blue Angels and the hydros on a sunny Seafair Saturday.
For 14 of his 17 years, David Wright has watched the Blue Angels.
Sometimes he runs outside his Central Area house when he hears the rumble of their engines. Sometimes he’s out near the edge of Lake Washington, craning his neck up at the sky. Saturday he and his cousin, Jeffrey Jones, 16, were angling for a spot on the bike trails of the I-90 bridge.
“I like pretty much the whole air show,” Wright said. “I even go out to the airport just to watch planes.”
Tens of thousands just like him gathered on the lake and around its shores Saturday for a Seattle summer tradition — the Seafair hydroplane races and the Blue Angels — all on a warm August day.
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On Sunday, as Seafair festivities continue, the National Weather Service predicts the temperature to reach 93, before cooling on Monday.
Saturday’s heat didn’t stop Lynnwood’s Doug Schwartz, 53, from turning out for Seafair.
“You’ve got to start early,” he said, as he hauled picnic food and chairs out of his car at about 10 a.m. after parking in the Leschi neighborhood. Summer “wouldn’t be the same without coming here.”
Nearby, a gathering of spectators was already forming on the grassy banks overlooking the I-90 bridge, which closed at midday while the Blue Angels roared overhead.
“I’m here for the birds [the Blue Angels],” said Matthew Cereghino, 29, who sat in the shade. “I used to work construction in the high-rises downtown and they’d bank the buildings.”
Seafair is “a Northwest tradition,” Matthew’s father, Dave Cereghino, 56, said. “Watching it from out on the log boom, that’s on my bucket list.”
“If you live around here, you can’t avoid it,” said Margaret Opalka, 53, a Mount Baker resident who grew up in the area before the Blue Angels were part of the event and everything revolved around the hydroplane races.
From her parents’ Leschi home there was a window where she could catch a glimpse of the racecourse. Her husband, Pat Opalka, 54, grew up dragging homemade wooden hydroplanes behind his bike and adoring legendary hydroracer, the late Bill Muncey, his Miss Thriftway and later his Atlas Van Lines boat.
While in years past, the undeniable Seafair stars were the hydroplanes, for many the Blue Angels are now the main attraction, the reason to sit in the sun and wait. Greg Monroe, of Renton, brought his family to the lake. Before his brother, Ross Monroe and his sons, return to North Carolina, “I wanted to be sure they saw the show.”
Nancy Bartley: 206-464-8522 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @BartleyNews.