Hey, sailors! Fleet Week has returned to San Francisco. And—unless you happened to spot a few men (and women) in uniform wandering around North Beach last night—the loudest clarion is coming at noon today, when the Blue Angels start their practice runs. Head on outside this afternoon and see if you can catch a glimpse.
Think of it like the Emergency Warning sirens, except yearly and more of an overpowering show of military might. The Angels—the US Navy's flight demonstration squadron—are scheduled to fly again Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
In addition to the flight performances, Fleet Week will include a commissioning ceremony of a newly-built ship, the America. The amphibious assault vessel is 884 feet long and cost $2.4 billion. There will also be a parade of ships on Friday at 11. Fleet Week is the biggest attraction of the year along the Embarcadero, with crowds estimated up to a million people watching the stunts.
As the Chron points out, Fleet Week has a somewhat contentious history in San Francisco. Neighborhood activist Jon Golinger, one of the chief architects of the 8 Washington and waterfront height limit campaigns, is quoted carping about the noise. Back in 2007, Supervisor Chris Daly tried to ban the flyovers entirely, though he was, obviously, unsuccessful. And to be fair, critics may have a point: It's an awful lot of money to spend on a glorification of what are, essentially, war machines. But on the other hand: Awesome jets doing sweet tricks! Advantage: Fleet Week.