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Military get special discounts at Seafair

Torchlight Parade Saturday

Courtesy of Gary Babcock Seafair hydroplane racing will take place Tuesday-Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Genesse Park on Lake Washington in Seattle. Hydroplane testing and qualifying will take place Monday from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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Seafair is seen as synonymous with Seattle, especially in the summer. Seafair was originally put together in 1950 to build community — one that includes a military component.

Seafair actually kicked off June 14 at Westlake Park, and a variety of events will continue through Aug. 20. The schedule includes the Torchlight Fanfest Saturday at the Seattle Center; the Torchlight Parade will feature a military presence from Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s I Corps and 62nd Airlift Wing.

Richard Andersen, Seafair chief executive officer, said the military has become a big part of Seafair traditions. He said the military has historically had ties to Seafair festivities since the earliest editions of the festival.

“It’s a holistic approach; the military is connected in most everything we do,” Andersen said. “Everybody is here on a rotation. We’re trying to make it feel like home.”

In addition to service members being part of the Torchlight Parade starting at 7:30 p.m., there will be a special area set aside for military families to enjoy the parade with more than 100 units marching, floating or dancing down the streets of Seattle.

But the biggest event of the summer festival will be Seafair Weekend Aug. 4 to 6 at Seattle’s Genesee Park. This is considered the signature weekend with military flyovers, hydroplane racing and additional demonstrations by way of sky and sea.

This year’s Seafair Weekend will also bring new additions to the entertainment lineup, including some of the best wakeboarding professionals and top BMX bicycle stunt riders providing exhibitions.

It is during Seafair Weekend when service members, retirees and veterans can receive free admission each day. They are also able to purchase general admission tickets for family members and friends at $20 per day — usually sold for $40 per person.

“It’s an opportunity to enjoy the heart and soul of Seattle,” Andersen said. “The idea is to, as a community, show a way to honor all that they do.”

Andersen said Seafair developed a new partnership this year with Aetna Insurance to provide a special play area for children that military families can also utilize. The children’s area will be free to access and is viewed as one of the best play areas outside of Disney, according to Andersen.

Andersen also noted that Seafair has a history of having great weather, which makes Seafair Weekend the perfect time to get out of the house.

“Statistically, the first weekend of August is the best weather weekend of the year,” Andersen said.

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