Seafair: A cross pollination of the Seattle community

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It was 9 a.m. at Genesee Park when the welcoming gates opened. From the entrance, one could see volunteers, club members, and kiosk clerks bustling around finishing last-minute preparations. Murmurs of the Blue Angels and other anticipatory features electrified the gathering —the Seafair Weekend Festival was about to begin.

Visitors were welcomed by the smell of wafting sausages and a crisp, blue sky. Though the trickle of attendees began modestly, it soon began to pick up the pace. The scene evolved into a communal fantasy with members of the community seated together in the lush grass, enjoying conversation often accompanied by delicious food and drinks.

The 2019 Seafair was yet another success for both the organizers and the Seattle community, attracting large crowds of varying ages and backgrounds. 

Functionally, the event had a strong emphasis on families with amenities for those with younger children. Though some may grumble about the increased traffic and public transportation alterations, spirits remained high at the event.

Seafair is an annual festival that lasts 10 weeks and is comprised of 75 sanctioned events. The Seafair Weekend Festival, located in Genesee park, provides a unique space where visitors can see a classic car show, watch hydroplane racing, and clamor at the Blue Angels all in one day. 

The most important part of the festival, however, seems to be the community. Seafair is a non-profit organization that welcomes loyal attendees and newcomers alike. 

For James Buyers, Seafair is an important tradition in his family. It was his 10th time attending. After living in Seattle for over 30 years, he has built a strong connection with the event.

“This is Seattle,” Buyers said. “This is it.”

As a relocated worker from Tennessee, Christie Ebiwas using Seafair as a way to get to know Seattle better. Examining vintage cars, Ebi was enjoying the event by herself in the mild summer Seattle weather. 

“I’m excited to see the Blue Angels,” Ebi said. “They’re why I came here today.” 

The reason Seafair was so effective was because of the efficiency of the volunteers. With support from local law enforcement, fire rescue, and non-profit organizations, the event was incredibly well staffed. A member of the medical support team, Brian Dennis has been volunteering at Seafair for seven years.

“As a volunteer, it’s really rewarding to see the growth,” Dennis said. 

Dennis was toting a first aid kit, on the lookout for visitors in need of information or assistance.

Though a member of the King County Explorer Search & Rescue, he was more focused on scraps and bruises at his current post. 

The Seafair Weekend Festival has signaled the peak of summertime in Seattle as many families begin back-to-school shopping and pondering their upcoming activities in the fall. Varied Seafair activities will continue into October including “Celebrate Shoreline” (Aug. 17), the “Lake Chelan Pirate Fest” (Sep. 22), and “Issaquah Salmon Days” (Oct. 5). Each event has its own unique style which speaks to the creativity and thoughtful planning involved.

Reach reporter Carl Myers at news@dailyuw.com. Twitter: @Carl_walks_home

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