Blue Angels return to San Francisco for Fleet Week


With their deafening roar and death-defying aerial acrobatics, the Blue Angels are the signature of Fleet Week for many Bay Area residents. They are returning for this year’s event after the pandemic moved the celebration online to 2020.

The Blue Angels will roar in the sky starting Thursday as they roam the area between the Golden Gate and Alcatraz Island, where their show will be focused on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The air show will also feature a United 777 performing tricks, the Navy Parachute Team, the US Air Force F-16 Viper Demonstration Team, and a host of other aircraft. The hours of operation for the air show are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on October 8 and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on October 9 and 10.

The Blue Angels may be the flashiest and loudest part of Fleet Week, but the event, which officially begins Sunday and runs through October 10, is more than the Blue Angels.

It begins – somewhat quietly – on Sunday evening when four Navy ships, whose identities have not yet been disclosed, arrive in San Francisco, bringing about 1,000 sailors to the city.

The events start on Monday with a different kind of noise. A series of 26 neighborhood concerts presented by Navy and Marine Corps groups throughout the week at venues ranging from the Transbay Terminal in Chinatown to the Excelsior District at Duboce Park to the Italian Heritage Festival in North Beach.

A concert by the First Marine Division Band – the Honor Our Fallen concert – will take place at 6 p.m. on Wednesday at the Herbst Theater. The concert is open to the public and is free, but seats are limited and tickets are required. They can be obtained online from the Fleet Week website,

Another highlight of Fleet Week is the public tour of Navy ships moored at Pier 30/32 and Pier 35. They will take place Wednesday through October 10 from 10 am to 6 pm and October 11 from 9 am to midday.

The Parade of Ships, which precedes the air show, features a procession of ships from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Bay Bridge led by firefighters from the San Francisco Fire Department who throw water jets into the sky to celebrate the return of Fleet Week in the Bay. Zoned.

Marina Green will host the Humanitarian Assistance Village, an exhibit showing how the military prepared to assist the Bay Area in times of emergency, including earthquakes. Instead of displaying military weapons as has been done in the past, the village exhibits field hospitals and underwater search and rescue equipment. The village will be open Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 10 a.m.

San Francisco Fleet Week, held virtually last year, is the only such event to be held in person this year. Similar events in Los Angeles, Seattle, New York and Baltimore are taking place online only.

Lewis Loeven, executive director of San Francisco Fleet Week, said event planners, who typically work on the event year-round, didn’t decide to hold this year’s festivities until after the end. of June, completing a lot of planning in just over three months and worrying that COVID trends could force them to cancel.

He thanked the San Franciscans for making the event possible by getting vaccinated, wearing masks and taking into account health advice.

“I hope it will have a good economic impact on the city almost at the end of the year,” he said. “I hope everyone is vaccinated, is wearing masks and following the guidelines.”

Michael Cabanatuan is a writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @ctuan


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