Chicago Air and Water Show 2017: Information and lineup

Chicago Air and Water Show 2017: Information and lineup
North Avenue Beach crowd. Photo: John J. Kim, Chicago Tribune

The 59th annual air and water show brings the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights, U.S. Navy Leap Frogs, F-35 Heritage Flight and the F-22 Demonstration Team to Chicago's lakefront August 19 & 20

The City of Chicago has just released the lineup for the 59th Annual Chicago Air and Water Show coming to the lakefront August 19 and 20. The show, which draws over two million spectators, is the largest free admission air and water exhibition of its kind in the United States.

Held along the lakefront from Fullerton to Oak Street, with North Avenue Beach serving as the epicenter, the show runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. both days. 

Although there is no published schedule of events for the show--as the information is decided daily by the pilots--all acts are performed on each day so you don't need to worry about missing your favorites.

If you want to make sure to catch the headliners, plan on staying throughout the day as they normally perform near the end of the show.

Popular show announcer Herb Hunter, the “Voice of the Air and Water Show” for the   last 30 years will, once again, be calling the show.

The Headliners

U.S. Navy Blue Angels

The Blue Angels. Photo: Chicago Tribune

The Blue Angels. Photo: Chicago Tribune

The U.S. Navy Blue Angels will once again be performing their gravity-defying flying, commanding presence and supersonic maneuvers in their F/A-18 Hornets.

U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights

Golden Knights. Photo: Chicago Tribune

Golden Knights. Photo: Chicago Tribune

The brave men and women of the U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights and the U.S. Navy Leap Frogs will be jumping out of an aircraft 12,500 feet above the earth’s surface to a perfect beach landing on North Avenue Beach.

Military and civilian aerial demonstration teams

Returning acts confirmed for 2017 include: F-35 Heritage Flight, F-16, A-10, F-22, AV-8B Harrier, U.S Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin Helicopter, C-130, AeroShell Aerobatic Team, Aerostars, American Airlines – 787, Bill Stein Airshows, Chicago Fire Department Helicopter Air/Sea Rescue, Firebirds Delta Team, Matt Chapman Airshows, Warbird Heritage Museum P-51 Mustang, Sean D. Tucker and Team Oracle, Susan Dacy in the  Super Stearman Model 70, Warbird Heritage Museum Foundation: A-4 Skyhawk Jet Tac Demo.

Best Views

Patrons watch the Chicago Air & Water Show from the 95th floor Signature Lounge atop the John Hancock Tower. Photo: John J. Kim, Chicago Tribune

Patrons watch the Chicago Air & Water Show from the 95th floor Signature Lounge atop the John Hancock Tower. Photo: John J. Kim, Chicago Tribune

You may want to have a plan before you head to the show. With North Avenue Beach the epicenter of the show and the only place you can get a close-up of the water show, expect crowds--unless you are willing to shell out upwards of $200 for a bird's-eye view of the action plus food and drinks from the rooftop of Phil Stefani's Castaways Bar and Grill on North Avenue Beach--get there early to reserve your space in the sand.

Other options include private boats, Chicago's line-up of cruise ship packages, nearby rooftops, the Signature Room on the 95th floor of the John Hancock Tower and public spaces available from as far south as the Gary International Airport in Gary, IN. and north to Montrose Beach.

OR go on Friday, August 18 and watch the rehearsal--same show, smaller crowds.

Rules and regulations

You may bring or purchase food at many locations including North Avenue Beach.

Alcoholic Beverages, BBQ Grills (Open Flames), Fireworks or Explosives, Illegal Substances, Weapons, Pop-up Tents/Canopies, Balloons, Kites, Flag Poles and Pets (except Service Animals) are all no-no’s.

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