Seattle, WA — The Blue Angels are officially out for the 2013 Seafair Cup, leaving Seattle in the lurch to find some mid-race entertainment.
The Blue Angels were grounded after recent budget cuts to the Pentagon as a result of the sequester. The group will miss the 2013 season, which includes their iconic performance over Lake Washington during the Seafair Cup hydroplane race.
Instead of the F/A-18 Hornets, the civilian all-volunteer Patriots Jet Team will take center stage in the sky over Seattle’s biggest festival.
The California-based flying group has performed over Lake Washington twice before, but their show was an opening act to the Navy’s larger, faster, and noisier fighter jets.
In announcing the decision to bring back the Patriots, Seafair CEO Beth Knox explained, “We felt it was critical to have a performance jet team as part of our air show.” An official press release from the festival added:
“The Blue Angels have flown at Seafair for over 40 years and are an important part of our history. The team will be deeply missed by Seattleites, however Seafair will continue in its traditional fashion.”
Seafair began in 1950, though its origins date back to the Seattle Golden Potlatch Celebrations in 1911. The festival traditionally starts with the Milk Carton Derby on Green Lake and culminates with the hydroplane races and a massive air show. Also included in the festival are the iconic Seafair Pirates, the Torchlight Parade, and a triathlon.
The Blue Angels have been a part of the Seafair Cup since 1972, though they missed performing in 1994 and 1995 due to a dispute with the FAA. The Hornets are a source of contention for some local residents who fear a crash involving the aircraft, which fly very low to the ground at some points during the show.
Residents who don’t like the Blue Angels’ performance will likely be appeased — at least for this year — though it is not clear if the Patriots will perform the same low-flying stunts as the Navy aircraft who usually headline the Seafair air show.
Will you miss the Blue Angels’ performance at Seafair this year? Do you wish the Pentagon could have come up with a way to keep them in the air, or is it for the best that they are, at least temporarily, grounded?
[Image via United States Coast Guard]