Fleet Week roars into SF Bay this week

More than 2,000 sailors, Marines and members of the U.S. Coast Guard and the Royal Canadian Navy are expected to descend upon San Francisco in preparation for Fleet Week starting Monday.

Now in its 36th year, the event pays tribute to maritime forces and has been a major attraction for tourists and Bay Area residents alike.

One of the event’s main attractions, the U.S. Navy Blue Angels stunt pilots, arrived at the Oakland Airport Sunday evening and are scheduled to perform their signature air show this coming Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The Blue Angels are celebrating their 70th anniversary this year, event organizers said.

The festivities began this morning with a training exercise at the Presidio Parade Grounds, in conjunction with the city’s Department of Emergency Management. The joint military and civilian disaster response exercises aims to strengthen the cooperation between military personnel, first responders and emergency managers, according to event organizers.

This week’s events also include a veteran art exhibit at The Cannery at 2801 Leavenworth St., various performances by the U.S. Navy Pacific Fleet Band at multiple locations, as well as tours of several military ships.

A festival at the Marina Green is scheduled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Blue Angels will perform on those three days as well, starting at 3 p.m.

On the final day, Sept. 10, Fleet Week will conclude with a High School Band Challenge at the Band Shell at Golden Gate Park. The challenge will feature dozens of high school bands and benefits arts programs at local high schools, Fleet Week officials said.

Fleet Week began in 1981 and takes place every October, attracting thousands of visitors and generating over $10 million in revenue for the city, according to Navy officials.

For information about the multiple events scheduled this week, those interested can visit www.fleetweeksf.org.