Hundreds of Seahawks fans swarmed Esther Short Park on Saturday afternoon to rally around their team for Super Bowl XLIX. They brought posters, green face paint, costumes, 12th man flags, decked out dogs — and most prominently — they brought their spirit.
“Who’s going to deflate the Patriots?” screamed event organizer, Carmen Westre.
“Seahawks!” the crowd yelled back.
Westre, clad in a green and blue tutu, threw packs of Skittles into the crowd, a nod to running back Marshawn Lynch, a big fan of the colorful candies. The Camas High School marching band and cheerleaders added to the rally’s energy. Lead singer of the Hit Machine band Bart Hafeman performed the national anthem, and the Young Marines Color Guard posted the colors.
Kids got 12s painted on their faces.
Several people participated in a touchdown dance competition (no fines or suspensions).
Diehard Seahawks fan Allen Heltzel lead the crowd through several rounds of cheers.
“Sea!” he yelled.
“HAWKS!” the crowd yelled.
Heltzel went to his first Seahawks game in 1976, the team’s first season in the NFL, and has been a fan ever since; he was a season ticket holder for 20 years.
It’s easy for people to get caught up in the excitement, he said, especially since this is the second year in a row the Seahawks made it to the Super Bowl.
“Couldn’t make it to Arizona, so here I am,” he said. “It’s neat to see all the camaraderie, all the support and fans.”
He’ll be watching the game on a big-screen TV at his son’s house. He remembers taking his son to his first game when he was 7.
“It’s hard to predict. It’s going to be a good game,” Heltzel said.
The sea of navy and lime green at the park gave a small hint at how many locals will cheering on the Seahawks on Sunday afternoon.
The crowd was loud, animated and expecting (or at least strongly hoping for) a Seahawks win.
After seeing the rallies that happened in Seattle last year, Westre said she wanted to bring that energy to Vancouver. She put together Saturday’s event in a couple of weeks.
“I just wanted a place where everyone can come and get excited about the game,” Westre said. “I want them to hear us up in Seattle … or at least in Jantzen Beach,” she said with a laugh.