This was the thing I was excited about the entire summer.
I woke up early, took the packed El Purple and then Red Line, and then I walked to North Avenue Beach. Spread out my picnic towel and chuckled as my fairer skinned friends struggled with sunscreen.
At 10AM, the show was underway.
The 60th annual Air & Water Show was headlined by the Air Force Thunderbirds and Parachute Team Golden Knights. On a warm sunny day no less!
Here are some interesting factoids I picked up from the City of Chicago website:
- The majority of planes flying in the show take off and land at the Gary Jet Center in Gary, Indiana.
- Some of the military planes fly in from bases around the mid-west. They time their flight to fly over the show at an exact moment.
- 14 federal, state and city agencies work together to put the show on safely each year.
- All pilots perform stunts over the water in a set safety area. When a plane does fly over buildings, it is merely doing so in its flight path to return to the show area or the airport.
- On average, 2 million people view the show annually.
- At 60, the Chicago Air and Water Show is longest running free show of its kind in the United States.
- In 1959, the show cost $88 dollars to put on. Today, with the help of generous corporate sponsors like Shell, Boeing, American Airlines, WBBM Newsradio, ABC 7, The Chicago Tribune, Oracle among others help to make the show possible and FREE to the public.
- When the show was held at Lakeshore Park between Ohio and Oak Street beach, Lake Shore Drive was sometimes closed.
- Also at Lakeshore Park, the Golden Knights didn’t have a beach to land on so they landed in the Water. Chicago Park District Lifeguards fished them out of the water.
- Herb Hunter (“The Voice” of the Air and Water Show) used to fly in the show before becoming the show announcer over 20 years ago. For many years he flew the USAF KC-135.
It was so cool!
Here is a video by Jordon Horwitz on YouTube: