Lake Union Wooden Boat Festival

Since the Saturday Night Live “I’m on a boat” skit aired in February, I’ve wanted to get on a boat. But for those of us who lack the resources to spend the Fourth of July holiday floating idly amid the posh yachts in the San Juans or Côte d’Azur, there’s this weekend’s 33rd annual Lake Union Wooden Boat Festival. What could be more nautical then cruising on a 100-year-old steamship called the Puffin? Puffin—doesn’t the name just sound relaxing? Other vessels open to inspection and rides are the old lightship Swiftsure and vintage tug Arthur Foss. Food, refreshments, and various children’s activities are also featured. For thrill seekers, the Lake Union Challenge Cup races will feature craft constructed in a mere 24-hour period, built on site over the weekend, while you watch. Then they race sometime after 5 p.m. on Sunday. Last year’s winner was made out of bamboo, grass, glue, and a bed sheet. These contraptions are powered by sail and paddle, and you better believe that contestants know how to swim—because sinking is a routine hazard. CHANTAL ANDERSON

Sat., July 4, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun., July 5, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., 2009

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