60th Annual Chicago Air and Water Show returns this weekend

60th Annual Chicago Air and Water Show returns this weekend
A pop-up Sand Bar Beer Garden will be located on the beach near the Northeast corner of the North Avenue Beach Boathouse (a.k.a. Castaways)

Highlights for 2018 include U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights, U.S. Navy Leap Frogs and the F-35 Demonstration Team

The City of Chicago’s 60th Annual Chicago Air and Water Show returns to Chicago’s lakefront this weekend, Saturday August 18 and Sunday, August 19 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. 

The show, which draws over two million spectators, is the largest free admission air and water exhibition of its kind in the United States.

This year’s headliners include the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and the U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights.airandwater2013

The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds have been astounding audiences since 1953 with their commanding presence and precision flying in their F-16 Fighting Falcons. As role models for men and women of all ages, the Thunderbirds are a select group of Air Force Pilots who perform intricate and precise maneuvers, often approaching the speed of sound.

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

To mark the 60th year of the popular lakefront event, the show will feature a wide variety of military and civilian aerial demonstration teams with daredevil pilots performing their stunts in the skies above Chicago.

Returning acts include: 

4 Force, AeroShell Aerobatic Team, American Airlines, Bill Stein Aerosport, C-130, Chicago Fire Department Air/Sea Rescue, Chicago Police Department Helicopter, Firebirds Delta Team, KC-135, Matt Chapman Air Shows, Rob Holland, Sean D. Tucker and Team Oracle, Susan Dacy, Warbird Heritage Foundation A-4 Skyhawk Demo and P-51 Mustang, T-38, U. S. Navy F-18, U.S. Coast Guard Helicopter, U.S. Coast Guard Cutter, U.S. Air Force F-35 and the U.S. Air Force Osprey U-WW Demo.

Herb Hunter, the “Voice of the Air and Water Show” returns to this year’s show marking his 32nd year calling the show and capturing the excitement.

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 no worries about missing your favorites–no matter which day you attend.

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

Where to view the show:

The Signature Room is a popular spot for viewing the Air & Water Show where spectators can enjoy a Classic Mojito and a full menu. Photo credit: Neil Burger

The Signature Room is a popular spot for viewing the Air & Water Show where spectators can enjoy a Classic Mojito and a full menu. Photo credit: Neil Burger

The show is held along the lakefront from Fullerton to Oak Street. The best place to get up close and personal with the show is North Avenue Beach the epicenter of the show and the only place you can see  the water show. The only downside–huge crowds.

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

OR go on Friday, August 17th for the rehearsal–same show, smaller crowds.

Rules and regulation

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.

Chicagoans to watch for at this year’s show:

Che “Rhymefest” Smith will tandem jump with the U. S. Army Golden Knights on Saturday, August 18, Hometown Hero Kate Grant will fly with the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and Chicago Public School Student Angel Cardenas will fly with Sean Tucker on Thursday, August 16 

For more information, click here.

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