This year San Francisco’s Fleet Week is October 6-10, 2011 and is extra special this year because Fleet Week is celebrating the Centennial of Naval Aviation! Fleet Week is held annually in San Francisco to honor the armed forces and is always a favorite among locals and tourists. There are numerous events that go on throughout Fleet Week, but here are the ones that you do not want to miss:
1. The main attraction of Fleet Week is definitely the Blue Angels Air show, which is held Saturday, Oct. 8th and Sunday Oct. 9th, at 3-4pm. It is a spectacular show of arial stunts performed by the Navy’s Blue Angels Team, and it’s free! It is a must-see event that you can watch with friends and family over a picnic at the park. The main viewing areas are the Marina Green Park and Fisherman’s Wharf, but the Blue Angels can be seen and heard all along the coast of San Francisco, including viewing on the Marin County coastline. Bring a jacket because you never know how cold it will be in San Francisco, and if you have sensitive hearing you should consider earplugs because it can get very loud!
2. The Italian Heritage Parade is another great, free event put on during Fleet Week. Even if you aren’t Italian it is still one of the best events of the year in San Francisco. There will be plenty of excitement with colorful parade floats, Italian music, and artists lining the streets. Of course there will be plenty of Italian food and wine specials at many of the restaurants in North Beach. The parade starts at 12:30 on Sunday, Oct. 9th at the foot of Jefferson and Stockton, goes through North Beach on Columbus Ave, and ends in Washington Square.
3. The parade of US Navy ships begins at 11am on Saturday, Oct. 8th under the Golden Gate Bridge and continues along the San Francisco waterfront. The parade is amazing and fun to watch, but the best part comes after the parade. You can take free tours of many of the different US and Canadian Navy ships. The tours are led by the ship’s crew members and are held at Piers 27, 30, 32. How often do you get the chance to go aboard a Navy ship?
4. If you love wine and food be sure to check out Artisan Wine-Blue Angels-Bacon Buzz 2011 hosted by the Treasure Island Winery & Tasting Room. General Admission is as low as $6, which is a steal considering you get to sample over 7 hand-crafted wines, while the Blue Angels fly directly over the parking lot. In addition to the fine wine and Blue Angels, if you get hungry The Mobile Gourmet is providing the Bacon Bacon food truck and Speedy Panini, both San Francisco favorites. There will be an array of pork belly sandwiches, chocolate covered bacon, and delicious Italian sandwiches.
5. Another awesome event is the 2nd Annual Fleet Week High School Band Challenge at the Golden Gate Park band shell on Oct. 10th from 10am-4pm. There will be six high school bands from all over the bay area competing for the grand prize of $25,000. After the high school bands play, the 1st Marine Division band will play, and then for the grande finale all of the bands will come together to play “Stars and Stripes Forever”. This event is great because it is supporting local students and lots of great band music!