Ideas for enjoying the real life of Seattle (that often cost little or nothing).

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Opening Day – Seattle Style

Everywhere else in God’s green America, Opening Day is synonymous with the start of baseball season. Not here. Not in Seattle. In Seattle, Opening Day, always the first Saturday in May, marks the official start of boating season. It is a long-standing tradition, dating back to 1913. The Seattle Yacht Club, which has hosted the event from its inception, has a great history of this big party on the water, which now includes crew races and huge parade of boats, yachts and ships of all kinds.

Above: Opening Day Parade passing through the hoglines of boats. Image from the Seattle Yacht Club website.

The races and parade pass through the “Montlake Cut”, a narrow canal that connects Lake Washington with Lake Union. Spectators-on-foot line both sides of the Cut, and spectators-on-boat create long hoglines that extend the canal up to ¼ mile or more into Lake Washington.

Left: Crew teams recovering at the end of a race. Image from the Husky Crew website.

Opening day is Seattle’s May Day, celebrating the return of warming weather, waxing days, and how we spend them… namely, on the water. Yachts, kayaks, dragon boats, row boats, canoes, sail boats, ski boats, fishing boats, skiffs, and inner tubes with beer holders will all be in attendance on Saturday to watch the races, tag along the end of the parade, and generally make merry.

Here is the schedule of events. Arrive early along the Cut with a picnic blanket and basket to claim a vantage point to cheer on the Husky crew teams.

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Blogger j said...

Can't say I share your enthusiasm. I see a bunch of idiots with boats jam packed together. But maybe I'm just jealous because I don't have one.

9:38 PM

Blogger Augustin Clair said...

Nice post. Here we have no opening day. We just have the start of real summer with the end of the NHL season.

7:32 AM

Blogger Cascadia Girl said...


Yes, Opening Day is quite "old school" Seattle, what with the poop-deck cocktail parties and everyone parading. I guess it's nostalgic for me, having been a summer beach rat in the San Juans as a kid. It also is quaint in its "home grown" and "home town"-ishness which I am a sucker for.

However, you just wait for Seafair and you will see my tone and attitude change dramatically. Imported, loud-mouthed hydroplanes racing to the hoots of loudmouthed, sloppy-drunk, littering spectators among other embarrassing events. It's all so commercial and inauthentic and, frankly, tacky. My coverage will be about either the precious few worthwhile activities or about ideas for getting the H**L out of Dodge for the worst of it (my approach is going to the Mts. to pick huckleberries).

8:21 AM

Blogger Cascadia Girl said...


By this do you mean people seperating themselves from their TVs and sofas to experience the real world outside? :)

8:24 AM


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