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Seafair to go virtual again in 2021 over ‘challenges with social distancing requirements’

Seafair Pirate landing from 2015. (Stephanie Klein, MyNorthwest)

Seafair announced Wednesday that for the second year in a row, it will take place “largely in a virtual format.”

Canceled and alternate local events in spring, summer 2021

Despite Phase 3 rules still allowing for smaller outdoor gatherings — and the return of live sports at T-Mobile Park and Lumen Field — the popular summer festival cited ongoing concerns over logistics.

“Open-air, large-scale community gatherings without designated access and reserved seating, unlike the Mariners and Sounders, have different challenges with social distancing requirements to follow in order to keep our attendees safe,” Seafair spokesperson Patrick Harrison said in a written release.

Harrison went on to note that Seafair remains “eager to bring back events” next year, and is “heartbroken fans must limit social gatherings for a second summer.”

Virtual events for Seafair’s 2021 iteration will include a July 4 hour-long presentation of the festival’s past fireworks show on KING 5, an at-home boat-building contest, and online Fleet Week activities.

A look back: History of Seafair in Seattle

The annual Boeing Air Show will also be going virtual for a second time, featuring a “fully-simulated performance by the U.S. Blue Angels.”

Seafair does plan to hold a small handful of hybrid in-person events, including the Seafair Triathlon and the Torchlight 5K run, which both will operate as “a combination of live and virtual participation, based on the competitor’s comfort level.”

The Torchlight Parade will be scaled down as part of a “We Bring Seafair to You” program, sending a caravan of clowns, pirates, parade marshals, and more to individually selected neighborhoods.

Online activities will kick off on Friday, June 18, while ticketholders for the 2021 event will be contacted for more information on refunds.

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