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Originally published Wednesday, August 1, 2012 at 7:01 PM

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Blue Angels, hydros get ready for Seafair

Blue Angels, hydroplane races highlight this week's Seafair activities in Seattle

Seattle Times staff

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We don't have to tell you the Blue Angels are in town. There's no mistaking the roar of the Blues, the team of Boeing F/A 18 U.S. Navy fliers here for Seafair's biggest party, the Hydroplane Races and Air Show Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Though this is Seattle and cloudy, rainy August weekends have been known to happen, sunshine and clear skies are expected this weekend, perfect conditions for the races and the air show.

Roostertails will fill the Lake Washington racecourse with hydroplane qualifying and racing throughout each day, including vintage hydros racing and on display, meet-and-greet sessions with drivers and the championship race at 4:45 p.m. Sunday. For up-close views of the hydros, pit access and tours are available at additional cost.

Air show highlights include Search and Rescue and Special Forces demonstrations, helicopters, biplanes, The Flying Heritage Collection historic planes and Fat Albert, the huge C-130 Hercules plane that accompanies the Blue Angels on tour. Along with the action on the water and in the air there's lots to do on land, with three beer gardens, 20 food vendors, entertainment and activities including free flight simulators and climbing walls and, for an additional charge, a Kids Zone with inflatable rides, jumpers and games.

Parking will be limited. Free shuttle buses will run between the Othello Light Rail Station and the Main Gate make Sound Transit Link Light Rail. Park or bike by any Link Rail Station for easy access. (Sound Transit day passes are $1.50-$5.50).

The Museum of Flight/Boeing Field is home base for the Blue Angels when they aren't in the air. The museum will host a new event, the Need for Speed Festival, with displays of planes and exotic cars, kids' activities, souvenir vendors, music, a beer garden and viewing of the Blue Angels preflight walkdowns, formation takeoffs and landings Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Note that along with the added festival events, museum admission, $9-$17, is required for access to the parking lot for viewing the Blue Angels, a change from the free access of past years.

Seafair Hydroplane Races and Air Show

Time: 8.30 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday, Saturday, Sunday; air-show 11:25 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday; Blue Angels perform 1:40 p.m. Friday, Saturday, Sunday.

Cost: Friday admission free. Single-day admission Saturday-Sunday, $25/advance, $30/at the gate per day or $30/weekend pass, $10/ youth and ages 65 and older; free for active military. Pit pass $10 additional; $12/Kids Zone rides all-day pass. Grandstand seating $20/Friday, $40/Saturday-Sunday.

Location: Stan Sayres Pits and Genesee Park; entry gates at 43rd Avenue South and South Genesee Street (main gate); Lake Washington Boulevard South near Mount Baker Beach (north gate); and Lake Washington Boulevard South at 49th Avenue South (South Gate). No pets, outside alcoholic beverages or firearms allowed.

Getting there: Several nearby streets will be closed. Free shuttle bus 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday, Saturday, Sunday from Othello Light Rail station to Main Gate; see Seafair website for info on parking near Light Rail stations. Metro Transit information: 206-553-3000 or tripplanner.kingcounty.gov. Sound Transit Link light-rail information: 206-398-5000 or soundtransit.org.

More information: 206-728-0123 or www.seafair.com.

Need For Speed Festival; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Museum of Flight, 9404 E. Marginal Way S., Seattle; $9-$17 (206-764-5720 or www.museumofflight.org).

Madeline McKenzie: 206-464-8245 or mmckenzie@seattletimes.com

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