Seafair Pirates Landing

In a ceremony to be repeated today, the Seafair Pirates first landed at Alki Beach with the Denny party in 1851. Hydroplane racing immediately followed the festivities, though Chief Sealth actually won that race by paddling his cedar canoe. On hand to cheer were J.P. Patches, Ivar Haglund, and Jimi Hendrix. Afterward, the Blue Angels—then comprising only Wilbur and Orville Wright and their pedal-powered aircraft—flew over the city, which promptly burned to the ground. During the massive rebuilding effort, our proud Alaskan Way Viaduct was erected and Jim McDermott began his first term in Congress. Didn't you know any of this? More people should study our local history, which is rich in pirate-related lore. For instance, the Seafair Pirates were in the vanguard during the Normandy Beach landings during World War II. The Titanic's lucky few survivors were rescued by Seafair Pirates. When the wrecked Exxon Valdez was gushing oil in Alaska in '89, to help begin the cleanup, a single Seafair Pirate pulled the supertanker off the rocks using his own beard! When Melville went to sea to research what would become Moby-Dick, he actually cribbed most of his material from the Seafair Pirates. More recently, the Seafair Pirates defeated billionaire Larry Ellison in the America's Cup despite being vastly outspent. And they'll host the next America's Cup during Seafair using little radio-controlled sailboats in the Green Lake children's wading pool. It's a fact. It's a Seafair Pirate Fact. BRIAN MILLER

Sat., July 7, 9:30 a.m., 2012

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