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Originally published August 7, 2011 at 7:03 PM | Page modified August 7, 2011 at 11:04 PM

Young fans get a lift from Seafair

There's something about watching hydroplanes whipping around the lake and Blue Angels zipping through the sky that seems to make most of the world's problems disappear, at least to some of the youths gathered on the shores of Lake Washington on Sunday.

Seattle Times staff reporter

quotes "My mom wants me to be an actor, but I wouldn't mind being up there," she... Read more
quotes Great story, crowds were definitely bigger this year than the past few years. Great... Read more
quotes Does anybody know what type of plane escorted the 747-8 on Sunday? Thanks! Read more

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There's something about watching hydroplanes whipping around the lake and Blue Angels zipping through the sky that seems to make most of the world's problems disappear, at least to some of the youths gathered on the shores of Lake Washington Sunday.

Cam'ron Hollingsworth, a veteran hydroplane race-watcher at age 8, said that while he did have concerns about the nation's economic fragility, the availability of health care for working-class Americans and budget cuts to social services, he nevertheless found the fuel-burning daredevil stunts uplifting.

"Seeing the hydro boats going really fast and all the planes doing nice tricks and stuff is great," said Cam'ron, whose extended family was among the tens of thousands who gathered at the Seafair hydroplane races near Seward Park. "My grandma works at Boeing, and I get to watch the planes take off every year."

One of his cousins, 4-year-old Kiera Morrow, said she enjoyed the earsplitting sound of the planes as well as a chance to appreciate some of the quieter pleasures of the sunny summer day.

"I saw a starfish, flowers and a rainbow and a bumblebee," she said. "I did see a tree, too, but I didn't want to touch it. I'm afraid of trees, spiders and ghosts."

Another cousin, Kh'mara Hollingsworth, 10, found that watching the planes made her want to fly them.

"My mom wants me to be an actor, but I wouldn't mind being up there," she said. "I'd rather fly it than be a passenger."

Sitting nearby, Pablo Ulargui, 8, also was inspired. He said he recently moved with his family from Spain to Sammamish and was planning to "play soccer" when he grew up.

But after seeing the Blue Angels perform for the first time, he said he was open to becoming a pilot instead.

Cessa Heard-Johnson, the dean of students at South Seattle Community College, said she decided to bring her two daughters to the lake after catching frustratingly quick glimpses of the races on television for years.

"I decided to just make a day of it and be tourists in our own town," the West Seattle woman said.

Her youngest daughter, 3-year-old Tamara, said that getting a hot dog was the best part of the day for her. But the oldest daughter, Isabella, 5, got a big kick out of watching the planes "flip in circles" and make smoke "pee" in the air.

According to officials, the weekend's events were relatively uneventful.

Bryan Smith, a firefighter and paramedic with Seattle Fire Department who was among those helping at a first-aid station, said this year's crowds were bigger than in years past but also better-behaved.

"A quiet day for us is a good day for everybody else," he said.

Cam'ron Hollingsworth's father, Altor Hollingsworth, said the festivities weren't pure frivolity.

"It's a great Seattle tradition."

Christine Clarridge: 206-464-8983 or cclarridge@seattletimes.com

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