Sailors man the rails aboard the guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52) as the ship arrives in Seattle, July 31, to participate in Seattle Seafair Fleet Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Shannon Heavin)

SEATTLE - The 63rd annual Seattle Seafair Fleet Week kicked off as amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans (LPD 18), guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52), and guided-missile destroyer USS Halsey (DDG 97) arrived in the Port of Seattle, July 31.

Seafair is Seattle's monthlong summer celebration that includes multiple Navy events such as a parade of ships, air shows by the Navy's flight demonstration team the Blue Angels, Navy Band performances, and a Seattle Mariners' military appreciation game.

"It's a great opportunity for the Navy to renew its bonds with the community and to continue to enhance our shared interest," said Cmdr. Mike L. Weeldreyer, USS Halsey commanding officer.

Sailors said they were excited to be able to meet locals and experience Seattle.

"I can't wait to see what Seattle has to offer, and I definitely want to check out the Space Needle," said Engineman Fireman Recruit Jessica Falls, a Halsey Sailor. "I think it's cool that the community shows their appreciation for what we do in the Navy,"

The Seattle Mariners hosted their annual military appreciation game which offered Sailors discounted admission tickets, access to the field during batting practice, a free Mariners' T-shirt and a free USO sponsored barbeque before the game.

"This is a pretty awesome experience, and it means a lot for the Mariners to show appreciation for what the Navy does," said Gas Turbine Systems Technician (Mechanical) 2nd Class (SW) Anthony Brusatori, a Naval Base Kitsap Sailor who helped parade the colors during the national anthem before the game.

In addition to the activities for visiting Sailors, the community is also invited aboard the ships for free public tours Aug. 1-5, at the downtown Seattle Waterfront on piers 46, 66 and 90.