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Could U.S. Government Shutdown Cancel San Francisco Fleet Week?

Written by George KellyPublished Sep. 26, 2023 • 1:29pm
San Francisco's Fleet Week plans could drop out of the sky if Congress can't agree on a budget deal to avert a U.S. Government shutdown. | Source: Courtesy San Francisco Fleet Week

San Francisco's Fleet Week plans could drop out of the sky if Congress can't agree on a budget deal to avert a U.S. government shutdown.

A shutdown could limit or entirely rule out participation from key military and government employees who run Fleet Week every October.

A shutdown could begin at 12:01 a.m. Sunday if Congress cannot pass a funding plan that the president signs into law.

Fleet Week is scheduled to start on Monday and run through Oct. 10 in San Francisco.

READ MORE: San Francisco Fleet Week Air Show Lineup Revealed for 2023

The U.S. Navy Blue Angels' C-130T Hercules supply plane, nicknamed "Fat Albert," flies over San Francisco for Fleet Week in 2015. | Source: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images

"We don't know what impact a government shutdown would have," a Fleet Week Air Show Network spokesman said Tuesday. "Nothing is canceled yet. Until it happens, until it does, we're full steam ahead."

"San Francisco Fleet Week is standing by to take guidance from the Navy and our other military partners," Fleet Week executive director Lewis Loeven said in a separate statement. "Currently our staff are continuing planning as usual for the greatest Fleet Week ever. We’ll make adjustments as needed as we receive guidance."

Started in 1981 by then-Mayor Dianne Feinstein to honor sea-based members of the military, Fleet Week has become the country's largest celebration of the United States armed forces, especially the Navy and Coast Guard. Now seen as a model for other events around the country, it brings in an estimated $10 million in revenue to the city annually.

Visitors and Bay Area locals have descended on the city to explore and learn about carriers, cruisers, destroyers and other examples of American military hardware, as well as to attend concerts, art shows and military-themed educational exhibits.

Bay Area Shutdown Concerns

Tourists watch the sea lions at Pier 39 in Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco. Alcatraz Island is seen in the background. | Source: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Prominent Bay Area tourist sites could also be at risk if the government shutdown happens.

Visitors to Muir Woods, Point Reyes, Alcatraz Island, the Presidio and other national park sites could see their access stopped or limited, as has happened during prior shutdowns.

According to the White House, government staff would not be able to carry out inspections at food-production sites and workplaces to assess and monitor safety conditions or at other sites to assess public health and environmental protections.

According to Reuters, about 2 million U.S. military personnel would remain on the job, but about half of the Pentagon's 800,000 civilian employees would be furloughed under a shutdown.

George Kelly can be reached at

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