It’s Seafair Weekend!
It’s that time of year again, friends.
Seafair is upon us once again!
And while clouds and cold may be in the forecast, we’ll take it over last year’s wildfire smog.
Let’s dust off the history books for a moment.
Seafair originally began as a centennial celebration.
Back then, Seattle had no major sports teams, and it didn’t even have the Seattle Center yet.
The city needed a “premier event.” A capstone festival or celebration for people to look forward to each year.
And so Seafair was designed both to bring tourists to the city and to celebrate Seattle’s proud, longstanding maritime heritage.
To spearhead (harpoonhead?) the planning process, Seattle business leaders looked to an unlikely place: St. Paul, Minnesota.
St. Paul had its capstone event: the Winter Carnival, designed and planned by a man named Walter Van Camp.
So, after a bit of friendly poaching, Seattle brought Van Camp on board to lend his event planning talents to our special shindig.
Van Camp began planning a celebration for August 11-20, 1950, but he quickly ran into a problem: where to actually host it.
Remember, no stadia, no Seattle Center.
How about… Green Lake?
And so Van Camp tapped the 5,500 seat Aqua Theater at Green Lake to be the inaugural party spot.
The first Seafair featured parades, boat races on Green Lake, amateur athletic events, royalty, and a number of community festivals.
Ultimately, good old Walt came through for us: Seafair was a rousing success, and would be expanded next summer with the addition of unlimited hydroplane racing’s Gold Cup race on Lake Washington.
Ever since it’s first production, Seafair has been, in the words of its planners, “about building community, creating memories, and providing affordable fun.”
This year, the Seafair festival features over 75 different events, and will be put on by a cohort of 3,000 volunteers.
Naturally, we won’t let a few clouds stop us from turning out.
We’re Seattleites after all, right?
Also, don’t forget to swing by our Observatory this weekend to sample our signature Seafair cocktail: the Scorpion.
It’s a pirate-themed concoction complete with Don Q Añejo, brandy, gin, lime, orange juice, orgeat, and of course, some Demerara.
Couldn’t forget the rum now, could we?