Seafair Weekend! Does it get any better for a boy in Seattle? I think not. As a kid, I remember the window-rattling sneak attacks by the Blue Angels. And the Goodyear Blimp as it occasionally meandered right through our neighborhood. There was a parade, with pirates (were they real?) scary enough to make my big sister cry. And at the center of the whole festival, the hydroplanes. Hydroplanes! Boats that wanted to fly! Those magical machines could churn the waters of Lake Washington with such ferocity that every town in the region could not escape their awesome scream. And not just down near the lake either, but in distant hilltop neighborhoods, just like ours.
The kids in my neighborhood, and lots of other neighborhoods too, had a yearly summer tradition. We made our own hydroplanes out of wood. We designed them and cut them with saws and painted them. We hammered extra nails through the bottoms to make big sparks. We took a stretch of kite string and tied one end to the hydro, the other to the back of our bikes. Then we dragged them, jumped them, raced them around the neighborhood.
Now, 33 years later, Zach and the neighborhood boys are being initiated into this sacred Seafair tradition. Fun stuff!