The History of Seafair

You may know Seafair as a fun event in August full of Seattle Pride and water fun, but have you ever heard the history of it?


Seafair began in 1951-52 as a strategy to get Seattle national recognition and contribute to its reputation of being the “boating capital of the world.”





St. Paul, Minnesota’s Winter Carnival Director, Walter Van Camp was brought in to help produce the event.  In only 75 days, he helped build the 5,500 seat Aqua Theater located in Green Lake.





The first Seafair included amateur sporting events, boat races on Green Lake, parades, and many other community celebrations.  After a successful first year, Seafair began to grow.  The next year, hydroplane racing’s Gold Cup was held on Lake Washington as an addition to the event.


Today Seafair is a multi-week event with over 30 events that reach more than 2 million people!  The festival is all about celebrating Seattle, building community, and providing affordable fun. 





Unfortunately due to COVID, Seafair 2020 and 2021 were cancelled.  We recommend staying tuned for Seafair 2022, as it is a “can’t miss” event that provides activities for all ages.  In the meantime, stop in and visit us at the Seattle waterfront or Pike Place Market for some classic Seattle souvenirs and fun!