Every fall, the skies over San Francisco have resounded with the sonic booms of Navy jets soaring overhead, announcing to everyone in the Bay Area that, yes, Fleet Week has once again arrived.
Since being inaugurated by Mayor Diane Feinstein in 1981, Fleet Week has brought boatloads of military servicemen and women to the city by the bay and attracted even more people from far and wide hoping to catch a glimpse of the action.
Starting on Friday, 10,000 military personnel will flood into the Bay Area with over a million spectators following right behind them.
This year the celebrations are likely to be more impressive than normal because, not only does 2011 mark three decades of Fleet Week, it's the 100th anniversary of the birth of naval aviation, which happened right here in the Bay Area. In 1911, pilot Eugene Ely took off from a San Bruno airfield and landed on the armored Navy cruiser USS Pennsylvania in the San Francisco Bay. It was the first successful aircraft landing on board a ship and, one century later, that calls for a celebration.
Besides the inevitable rooftop barbecues and Blue Angels shows, how else should San Franciscans enjoy this year's celebration? Check out our suggestions below: