Paddleboarders on Lake Union.

More late-Saturday morning than last night, a friend and I wandered over to the revamped South Lake Union park to check out the opening day festivities. As gorgeous as the day was (high '60s and sunny if you've already forgotten), it wasn't surprising to see the park packed with families, couples, and other eager park-goers checking out the food vendors, company booths, music, kids races, and model sailboats.


MOHAI's rabble-rousing suffragettes singing songs and fighting for the 19th Amendment.

I enjoyed strolling around the park and through the mini farmers market (anyone know if that's going to be a regular thing?), but the highlight of the opening ceremonies was REI's free kayak and stand-up paddle board demo. I've been wanting to try stand-up paddling for a while, but never had the chance.

I was only on the water for about 15 minutes on Saturday, but I had a freaking blast. Taking a long paddle down the canal from Lake Union to the Sound seems like a fantastic way to spend an afternoon (too bad paddle boards are so damn expensive). Look for my new column, PaddleNerd, in which I advocate for a Venetian-style water highway system.

The park itself is pretty great (though I won't complain when the fertilizer smell fades away). It still feels a little barren without much grass or other landscaping, but the space holds a lot of potential for great public events.  I can also see heading to the park with some bread, cheese, and a discreet beer or two for a Sunday evening watching the boats and float planes come and go.

And Josh F. reports that he was there after dark (biking through the sidewalk fountains)  and noted there's already some discreet teen pot smoking going on.