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The audience awaits the next band to take the stage at LA Fleet Week, 2019. (photo: Los Angeles Fleet Week Facebook page)

This Labor Day weekend marks the return of San Pedro’s biggest annual event, LA Fleet Week.  

The LA Fleet Week organizers have taken great steps to make this a safe and responsible event with 95 percent of all activity taking place outdoors. Additional adjustments could be made according to guidelines from health officials closer to the date, so I am hopeful all the work we have done as a community to get vaccinated and take COVID seriously will result in an even more open event for all of us to enjoy.

The first event to look forward to is the Welcome Party on Thursday, Sept. 2. It starts at 6 p.m. and doubles the amount of fun, entertainment, and people we have on a normal First Thursday event. There will be art tours, music, beer, food, and activities for the kids to enjoy. The entertainment is always top-notch, and it’s a good idea to wear comfortable shoes to get around town or to dance on 6th and Mesa.

LA Fleet Week (Sept. 3 – 6) is a FREE EVENT and will take on more of a festival atmosphere this year along the waterfront. The gates open each day  at 10 a.m., with folks being able to see the unique U.S. Sea Service ships from the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard. Again, depending on how well we stop the spread, ship tours may include topside as well as below deck tours. As always, people will be able to meet service members to ask questions, take photos, and thank them for their service. Tours run 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Check out LAFleetWeek.com for additional details.

The main stage will have a DJ or live performances starting around noon and will feature a different genre of music to enjoy each day. Friday is going to be country with performances by Sean Oliu & the Coastline Cowboys at 2:30 p.m. and Mr. Red, White and Blue himself, Coffey Anderson, at 4 p.m. Saturday is all about rock ‘n’ roll with popular San Pedro locals and U2 tribute band, L.A.vation coming on at 2 p.m. and then high energy performances from Def Leppard’s Rick Allen and DJ Ravidrums at 4:30 p.m. You are in for a real treat.

Sunday brings back Galley Wars at noon. This is where the chefs from the U.S. Sea Services battle it out in a timed competition to impress celebrity judges, chefs, and high-ranking officials. The teams include active-duty members from the Navy, Coast Guard, and Marines. Then at 4 p.m., American Idols Taylor Hicks and Ruben Studdard will perform a Tribute to American Heroes.

Monday (Labor Day) will be a favorite with the always fun ‘80s cover band and San Pedro locals, Identity Theft, who go on stage at 2 p.m., followed by “The Titans of Soft Rock,” Yachtley Crew at 4 p.m. Both of these performances are not to be missed and will include yours truly, dancing and loudly singing along to songs I know about 80 percent of the words to. 

Every day will include a schedule of flyovers and aerial demonstrations. These feature all sorts of aircraft, including the usual LAPD and LASD choppers we see in high-speed chases, as well as the city and county fire copters that drop large amounts of water on hillside fires. The Leap Frogs Navy Parachute Team will perform several jumps where they land just a few feet from spectators, and the U.S. Coast Guard will do some amazing water rescue demonstrations that always impress. 

All performances are subject to schedule changes, so be sure to check out LAFleetWeek.com for updates or ask one of the many volunteers for a schedule. Speaking of volunteers, the San Pedro Chamber of Commerce does an amazing job of training and providing volunteers for these events. To find out how you can participate, visit SanPedroChamber.com.

There will be a larger Family Fun Zone this year for younger kids to enjoy, along with more food trucks and pop-up vendors. My insider tip to locals is to park at 22nd and Miner, visit nearby Crafted for a quick shop of local and interesting items, have a local brew at Brouwerij West, and then jump on the FREE trolley to take you on a quick tour of San Pedro on your way to Fleet Week. You will avoid parking fees, skip the crowds, and travel in style as you see some of the exciting changes that are happening around the town we love. See you there! spt

Lee Williams

Lee Williams is board chair of the San Pedro Chamber of Commerce and leads The Williams Group at Keller Williams PV Realty.

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