by: Chris Legeros Updated:Seattle —
Cynthia Brown and Vicki Thompson arrived on the Seattle waterfront, expecting to watch a parade of Navy ships sail into Elliott Bay. The sisters had seen the date and tour times advertised on the website Savvy Cities. Unfortunately the women, and the website, didn't get the word that the Navy cancelled their Seafair appearance this year due to budget cuts.
Vicki Thompson said, "I'm very disappointed, that was our day." Brown's feelings were the same. She's from Texas and scheduled her trip to Seattle so that she could enjoy Seafair events including the ship parade.
For more than sixty years, the Navy has been a big part of Seafair. In fact, this is the first time ships haven't sailed into Elliott Bay for Seafair's Fleet Week. Seafair said in the past, as many as 6,000 sailors have visited. In 1995, the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk launched and retrieved jets right in the middle of the bay, in full view of workers in downtown office buildings.
The owner of Ye Old Curiosity Shop said he will miss the sailors and their dollars. Andy James told us they usually come into his store to buy souvenirs to send home.
There was a very small fleet of boats on the water Wednesday. There were manned by peace activists who visit every year to protest the Navy's arrival and its show of military might. The demonstrators clearly didn't want to break their tradition. Linda Newton of Ground Zero said, "We don't need funding to show up here with our hearts and souls and make a stand for what we believe in."