The Patriots Jet Team flies over ships docked at Pier 35 during Fleet Week 2021 in The City. (Harika Maddala/Bay City News)

The Patriots Jet Team flies over ships docked at Pier 35 during Fleet Week 2021 in The City. (Harika Maddala/Bay City News)

Burst of tradition: Fleet Week brings back San Francisco’s pre-pandemic vibe

Thousands flock to The City to enjoy the outdoors

By Harika Maddala

Bay City News

San Francisco welcomed hundreds of thousands of visitors, as well as its own residents, to Fleet Week for air shows, a parade of ships, ship tours and more.

With fans arriving at Oracle Park to watch the Giants play the Dodgers on one end, and crowds joining the four-hour lines to tour the military ships at Fleet Week on the other end, The Embarcadero was looking what one would call “lit” over the weekend.

Demetri Ware, a Vallejo resident, was touring the USS Shoup on Pier 35 and taking pictures of the air show on Saturday.

“I wanna see the Blue Angels. I’m just excited to see them, be outside and be part of the people,” Ware said. “I feel comfortable, you know, with the coronavirus and everything going on. I feel real safe, and I appreciate that it’s an outdoors event. Everybody is out here to have a good time.”

Started in 1981 by then-San Francisco Mayor Dianne Feinstein as a celebration of America’s military sea services, Fleet Week is the nation’s largest celebration of the United States Armed Forces, and especially the Navy. It took place Oct. 3 through Monday.

The event brings in visitors from all across the Bay Area to the city’s waterfront and particularly Pier 39 — a location that offers one of the best views of the air shows for no cost.

Rehma Shahid, an El Cerrito resident, returned to Fleet Week with her family on Saturday after four years.

“I’m excited to watch the planes today, and it is mainly because of the weather,” Shahid said.

Anyone remotely familiar with San Francisco knows the fog is at the core of The City’s identity. There have been instances in the past where weather conditions affected Fleet Week performances. On the last day of Fleet Week 2019, the Blue Angels had to wait almost 25 minutes before the fog cleared up.

“It’s a clear sky, and you can really see the planes going by,” Shahid said. “I’m having a great time.”

The other major attractions of Fleet Week are the military ship tours at Piers 30/32 and Pier 35. The U.S. Navy opened three ships for tours from Wednesday through Monday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The USS Shoup and USS John S. McCain were docked at Pier 35, and the USS Rushmore was docked at Piers 30/32. The USS Michael Monsoor was also docked at Pier 35 but was not open for touring.

fleet week, fleet week san francisco

Just Posted

San Franciscans are likely to have the opportunity to vote in four different elections in 2022. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Electionpalooza: SF school board recall will kick off a flurry of local races

‘It’s going to be a lot of elections and a lot of decisions for voters to make’

The fate of San Francisco nicotine giant Juul remains to be seen, as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is reviewing whether to allow certain flavored vape products on the market. <ins>(Jeenah Moon/New York Times)</ins>
How the vape king of teen nicotine addiction rose and fell in San Francisco

‘Hey, Juul, don’t let the door hit you on the way out’

Cabernet sauvignon grapes sat in a container after being crushed at Smith-Madrone Winery in St. Helena. (Courtesy Smith-Madrone Winery)
San Francisco’s ‘Champagne problems’ — Wine industry suffers supply chain woes

‘Everywhere you turn, things that were easy are no longer easy’

Glasses behind the bar at LUNA in the Mission District on Friday, Oct. 15, 2021. Glassware is just one of the many things restaurants have had trouble keeping in stock as supply chain problems ripple outward. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
SF restaurants face product shortages and skyrocketing costs

‘The supply chain crisis has impacted us in almost every way imaginable’

A mother and daughter attended a parent meeting at a Los Angeles high school in August; California has done well limiting COVID outbreaks, even before its student vaccine mandate has been put into place. (Allison Zaucha/New York Times)
California accounts for 12% of U.S. students but only 1% of COVID school closures

More protection may be needed if cases begin to climb again

Most Read