Blue Angels, hydros highlight big Seattle Seafair weekend

Aug 7, 2023, 1:18 PM | Updated: 5:10 pm

Blue Angels...

The Blue Angels perform at Seafair. (AP)


Yes, there were clouds. And yes, there were protesters. But when all was said and done, most people felt the big Seafair Festival summer weekend was a big success.

From the hydro races to the Blue Angels, Seafair ended in a spectacular way.

“I was on a literal high from Seafair weekend,” Angela Poe-Russell, filling in as one of the hosts on the Gee & Ursula show, said Monday.

Protesters were challenging the noise and pollution of the flying group. They were also against the militarization of Seafair.

“I love it when people can come in and express their dissent and do it in a way that’s mindful,” Poe-Russell said. “However, I completely disagree, and you will not take my Blue Angels. And look, I think they’re raising some really good points.”

Mike Lewis, also filling in as co-host, said he also likes the Blue Angels.

“You know, you’re working somewhere in town or you’re walking outside on a sidewalk and suddenly you hear that sound, and the first few years I was in town your reaction is ‘What is that?'” Lewis said. ” And then suddenly the sound of the Blue Angels is kind of the alarm bell that Seafair is starting.”

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Lewis also agreed with Russell that the protesters have a right to be there.

“I’m actually kind of happy when people go out and protest in a peaceful way,” Lewis said. “Here’s the thing, though, I kind of agree with the protesters but not on this event. Back a few years ago, some very intrepid investigative reporters found out that all of those pre-NFL game military celebrations were actually not the NFL trying to honor the military. They were getting paid by the military to do these flyovers and all that kind of stuff. I didn’t like the fact that the NFL was grabbing that sort of grabbing the sheen of the military and applying it to entertainment.”

Lewis said Seafair was different because, for 73 years, the Blue Angels have been a component of it.

“Because this area is loaded with military bases and military presence, the Blue Angels are an important part of this particular celebration,” Lewis said.

“The people who serve they are behind the scenes, it’s like they’re behind the scenes doing all of this great work,” Poe-Russell said. “When do we have an opportunity to connect with them, and actually talk with them about the work they’re doing? If you actually go to Seafair, you can talk to members of the military and hear about their jobs. I think it’s important that we connect with the people who are serving. Yes, it’s a recruiting tool, but we need people to go into the military.”

Show producer Andrew “Chef” Lanier felt that pollution from the Blue Angels was a small issue because there are military flights over Puget Sound all the time.

“It is impossible to watch a Blue Angel show without feeling the dual emotions of both awe and a little bit of terror at the same time because you understand what those planes represent. Right? They are warplanes. And we live in a country thanks to our military that has never had planes flown over our country and dropping bombs on us.”

Russell ended with, “Seafair is about tradition. It’s about family. It brings neighborhoods together people from all walks of life.”

Listen to Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin weekday mornings from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Blue Angels, hydros highlight big Seattle Seafair weekend