A look back: History of Seafair in Seattle

Seafair was born in an era where Seattle didn't have any major league sports teams and the city was looking for a big event to make a name for themselves. Here's a look back at how the festival began and how it has evolved into what it is today.

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The first Seafair - 1950

The event was originally being planned for the city's centennial in 1951-1952, but the man they hired to help, Walter Van Camp, who had been a big success planning the St. Paul Minnesota's water carnival, wouldn't wait and rolled it out in 1950.

Starting in March, he planned a 10-day event for August. In that time, he built the 5,000 seat Green Lake Aqua Theater in 75 days, and organized an event that featured boat races, amateur athletic events and lots of community activities.

Here spectators enjoy a show at the Green Lake Aqua Theater.

Photo by (Seattle Municipal Archives)
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