• Navy pulls Blue Angels, ships from 2013 Seafair


    SEATTLE - The US Navy Blue Angels, a key and beloved part of Seattle's Seafair festival, will not appear at the air show, or any other air shows, this year.

    The performances at the festival's air show were scheduled for August 3-4.

    The cancellation is the result of government budget cuts.

    The Navy confirmed in February that it planned to cancel the performance at Seafair this summer if Congress and the president could not work out a budget deal and head off big automatic government cutbacks.

    The Navy first cut 11 appearances across the US due to the sequestration budget cuts, but Seafair had remained on the squadron's performance schedule.

    Seafair staff confirmed Tuesday they were notified by the Navy that the fighter jets would not appear at the festival this year.

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    Seafair signed a deal with another precision flying team last month called the Patriot Jets Team, which will assume the lead spot in the air show.

    The cancellation of the Blue Angels' entire 35-city schedule will help the Navy slash $4 billion from its budget.

    Their last performance for the year was in Key West on March 27.

    "Recognizing budget realities, current Defense policy states that outreach events can only be supported with local assets at no cost to the government.  This is one of many steps the Navy is taking to ensure resources are in place to support forces operating forward now and those training to relieve them," the Navy said in a statement.

    Meanwhile, group practices for the squadron have been scrubbed and the precision pilots will fly as individuals, only enough to stay accredited.

    Seafair released the following statement regarding the Blue Angels.

    "Dear Fans, 

    Today we were officially informed by the U.S. Navy Blue Angels that their season has been cancelled, including the Seafair performance, due to Federal Budget Cuts resulting from sequestration. The Blue Angels have flown at Seafair for over 40 years and are an important part of our history. The team will be deeply missed by Seattleites, however Seafair will continue in its traditional fashion. The Patriots Jet Team, which we previously announced, will now assume the lead spot in our world-class air show. The six-ship aerobatic team electrifies spectators with fast-paced formation flying, choreographed four-ship diamond formation aerobatic maneuvers and are highlighted by a computerized red, white and blue smoke system. Many of the pilots include past experience with the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, U.S.A.F. Thunderbirds and Royal Canadian Air Force.

    In addition to the air show, Seafair Weekend will include H1 Unlimited hydroplane racing, F1 PROP Tour boat racing, a vintage hydroplane exhibition, a wakeboard competition featuring the top athletes in the sport, live music and activities such as a zip line and water slide. Seafair Weekend, and the Seafair festival overall, has evolved over the years. It is a festival with many facets - an eight week celebration that includes over 75 events and reaches nearly two million people. 

    We're grateful for the support of our fans, volunteers, sponsors and beyond. Together, we've connected and celebrated as a community for the last 64 summers. We look forward to carrying on this long-standing tradition."

    It was also announced on Tuesday that the budget cuts that grounded the Blue Angels will force the Navy to cancel its role in the Parade of Ships during Seafair’s Fleet Week.

    Every year, Fleet Week brings thousands of sailors and spectators to the waterfront, injecting an estimated $50 million dollars into the local economy.

    However, even though the Navy won't take part in the Parade of Ships, the Canadian Navy still plans to participate.



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