Fleet Week wraps up in San Francisco

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San Francisco?s Fleet Week wrapped up on Monday. And from the looks of it, people didn't want it to end.

San Francisco's Fleet Week wrapped up on Monday. And from the looks of it, people didn't want it to end. Tourists lined up, waiting for a tour of the USS America. By 9 a.m., the wait was already an hour long.

One of the best moments of Fleet Week came when the ship was commissioned this weekend. Crewmembers ran to the USS America, up the gangway, and across the decks.

VIDEO: USS America commissioned during Fleet Week in SF

Organizers say this was one of the best Fleet Weeks they've seen. And here's why for the first time, you had the Marine Corps Band play in different parts of the city. Then you had training exercises exclusive to San Francisco. And of course, you had the USS America, which officially joined the fleet officially in the city. All that, plus the Blue Angels, contributed to a great Fleet Week.

You know Fleet Week is coming to an end when the high school bands play at Golden Gate Park. The band challenge is organized and judged by the Marines.

"It's really to showcase our commitment to music education," said Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Chris Arellano. "Because otherwise, if we didn't have a high school band, we wouldn't be here either."

This year, former Secretary of State George Shultz was among those who came to listen. Eight high schools, most from the Bay Area, competed for a $10,000 grand prize.

"I would say the Marine Corps Band is very stellar," said Marine Corps Capt. Melanie Clifton. "But some of these students are very good as well."

Benicia High won again this year. The band has claimed the prize three times over the past four years.

PHOTOS: San Francisco Fleet Week 2014

Throughout Fleet Week the members of the Marine Corps band moved around, playing in some of San Francisco's neighborhoods.

"Of course the merchants love that, because people just organically gathered around," said Fleet Week executive director Lewis Loeven. "And then, of course, the wonderful thing is the merchants then saw the sailors and marines and invited them into their stores."

According to San Francisco Travel, people who come to an event like Fleet Week spend on average $100 a day. The organizers of Fleet Week say they had one million people over the weekend.

"If you just go with the 100 a day, then you have $100 million over the course of the weekend going into the economy," said Loeven.

Although, they think that dollar amount is conservative.

People always come to see the Blue Angels. This year, the USS America was a huge attraction; especially because it was commissioned in San Francisco. The ceremony was witnessed by thousands of people as crewmembers of the new warship assembled, ready to man the ship and take possession.

The USS America leaves San Francisco on Tuesday morning.
Related Topics:
societyfleet weeknavymarinesblue angelsmilitaryair forcemusiceconomytourismSan Francisco
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