San Francisco is ready for Fleet Week

October 8, 2008 12:22:08 AM PDT
It's that time of year again. Fleet Week takes to the water and the sky this weekend. The Blue Angels are already in the Bay Area, and the big ships scheduled to arrive Saturday.

The Navy's Blue Angels don't fly like anyone else. They don't land like anyone else either.

The FA-18 Hornets arrived on Monday and will start checking out the unique challenges of a show over the bay on Wednesday.

"Specifically the wind is a factor around the hills behind the city, the bridges, so we can safely fly our demonstration for the American public," said Blue Angels Commander Captain Kevin Mannix.

And there will be more practice flights Thursday and Friday before the official show on Saturday.

The Mayor's Office is bracing for the deluge of phone calls.

"What is going on what is the noise? Why are you allowing this again Mr. Mayor? But at the same time marking the fact that the overwhelming majority are saying we're glad they're back," said San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.

They'll be joined again this year by their Canadian counterparts, The Snowbirds, who were last in the Bay Area in 2003.

The parade of ships kicks off the festivities, entering the Golden Gate at about 11:30 a.m. on Saturday morning. Once anchored, visitors can go on-board.

"There are about a million veterans in the Bay Area. This is a chance for them to reconnect with history and for other people to reconnect with our history," said Fleet Week organizer Ed Leonard.

Fleet Week attracts about a million spectators along the waterfront, bringing an estimated $10 million to San Francisco businesses.

Michael Geraldi's grandfather opened Fisherman's Grotto in 1935. He says foreign tourists have taken the edge off the economic downturn this summer.

But Fleet Week is to the Wharf restaurant business like Christmas is to retailers.

"Extremely important like I said before one of the busiest weekends of the year. Have a lot of people coming down on the weekend, Friday Saturday Sunday and Monday also," said Geraldi.

Everyone, visitor and local, is encouraged to walk or take public transportation.


Load Comments