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Washington State Summer Festivals: Delight in Celebrations Along Puget Sound During a Seattle Visit

Published by Willis Fesenbek

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Delight in the variety of activities along Puget Sound, as festivals abound Seattle during summer months. Participate in athletic events such as marathons, triathlons and road races. Watch the Blue Angels air show, hydroplane races, and parades. Listen to upbeat music, laugh at comedy acts or watch art performed live. Celebrate culture and history in the state of Washington.


Seafair, Seattle’s month long, region wide summer festival blends athletic competitions with community events. Throughout July, locals and visitors participant in contests, races and parades. The Milk Carton Derby is held at the beginning of the festival, in July, where handcrafted boats, made of milk cartons are tested for their sea-worthiness. Festival events include a costume contest and lively parade, combined with community floats, bands and drill teams. Seattle’s neighborhoods and surrounding towns get together to celebrate the region’s “boat-owning tradition.”

Those interested in pursuing athletic endeavors participate in the triathlon, which includes a ½ mile swim, 12-mile bike race and 3.1-mile run. Festival participants also enjoy the 8K or 5K run/ walk road race along Elliott Bay, ending near Quest Field. This year, there were 2,200 participants in the 7th annual road race. Perhaps the most well known event of the festival is the Chevrolet Cup Hydroplane Races on Lake Washington, where hydroplane boats race across the lake at speeds of 200 miles per hour. These exhilarating races are held near the end of the festival during August.

Spectators gather during Seattle’s Seafair to watch the U.S. Navy Blue Angels fly above the city. The Patriots Jet Team also performs amazing aerial stunts, awing the crowds below. Throughout Elliott Bay and Puget Sound, U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard and the Canadian Navy fleets gather to celebrate Fleet Week. The ships gather for the Parade of Ships during the summer celebration. Festival participants can tour Navy ships and learn about how navigation and life onboard the ships. The events of Fleet Week make the festival one of the nation’s biggest maritime events.

Bumbershoot Music & Arts Festival

Located at the Seattle Center, the Bumbershoot Festival takes place during Labor Day weekend. The word “bumbershoot” is an informal word meaning an umbrella, as the event covers all aspects of music and art. The description also fits Seattle’s label of being one of the wettest cities in the U.S. However, the weather in the Northwest U.S. during September is usually very warm and dry.

Visitors converge at the Seattle Center for music, comedy, visual arts, dance, theater and literary arts. Created in 1971, the festival is considered an international music festival, showcasing music and art from around the world. The festival draws in 150,000 visitors every year. Previous festival music headliners include Spinal Tap, Roy Orbison, Tony Bennett, R.E.M., Ray Charles, Black Eyed Peas, Kanye West and many others.

Come visit Seattle’s summer festivals, to join in the region’s community events, athletic competitions and international music and arts. While you’re there, enjoy the views of Puget Sound, Elliott Bay and the Emerald City.

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