The restaurant and bar will remain open until 10pm. Additional tickets may be available at the door after 12pm based on availability/capacity.
Presented by Shell and the City of Chicago, the Air and Water Show celebrates 59 years of daredevil thrills in the air and on the water at North Avenue Beach and along Chicago’s magnificent lakefront on Lake Michigan. With Chicago’s Skyline as a backdrop, audience numbers reach 2 million annually making the Chicago Air & Water Show the largest FREE admission air and water exhibition of its kind in the United States. Over the years the show has featured some of the top civilian and military pilots and aircraft. Biennially, the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds headline along with the U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights and the U.S. Navy Leap Frogs.
The Chicago Air & Water Show is conducted in an extremely safe and conscientious way. Safety precautions are taken at all times before, during and after the show. Planes take off and land at the Gary/Chicago International Airport in Gary, Indiana. 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.
Organizers work closely with the FAA and various City Departments in a highly proactive manner to assure the safety of all involved. All pilots and air personnel must attend morning meetings each day before flying to receive up-to-date information about weather and pertinent details to assure safe flights. Additionally, the event employs its own air traffic controller who oversees the downtown air space during show hours.
In 1959 the first show was held under the direction of Al Benedict, a Chicago Park District Supervisor at Lakeshore Park. Held at Chicago Avenue and Lake Michigan, the show was titled the Lakeshore Park Air & Water Show, and was a part of a “Family Day” celebration for children enrolled in the Chicago Park District’s day camp program. The budget was $88, and the show featured a Coast Guard Air Sea Rescue demonstration, water skiers, a water ballet, games and a diving competition.
The following year, the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and Golden Knights Parachute Team performed to a huge crowd and the event became a Chicago summer tradition.
Eventually, the show was renamed the Chicago Park District Air & Water Show, expanded to two days, and moved to its current location at North Avenue Beach. Corporate sponsorship participation was incorporated in 1989, and now provides substantial support for the production costs of the show. The event has been managed by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events since 1994.
The U.S. Navy Blue Angels have been astounding audiences since 1946 with their commanding presence and aerial maneuvers in their F/A-18 Hornets. As role models for men and women of all ages this elite group of Navy pilots defy gravity with their famous diamond formation and precision flying. the team has thrilled more than 427 million fans choreographed aerobatic and high altitude performance maneuvers. In their F/A 18 Hornets, the six-jet team is known for its six-jet Delta Formation, as well as the graceful maneuvers of its solo pilots.
For more information on the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, visit www.navy.mil/local/blueangels/
Jumping out of an aircraft 12,500 feet above the earth’s surface, racing to North Avenue Beach at speeds exceeding 120 mph and landing with smiles, ready to do it all again; all in a days work for the Golden Knights. For more than 50 years, the U.S. Army Parachute team has amazed and thrilled audiences with their precision parachute demonstrations in more than 14,000 shows in all 50 states and 48 countries.
For more information on the U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights, visit www.goarmy.com/events/golden-knights.html
A typical Leap Frogs performance consists of fourteen jumpers leaping out of an aircraft at an altitude of 12,500 feet. During free fall, jumpers reach speeds of 120 mph and can accelerate up to 180 mph by pulling their arms to their sides and straightening their legs into what is called a “track.”
The jumpers typically open their parachutes at around 5,000 feet by releasing a smaller pilot chute which deploys their main blue-and-gold canopy. After deploying their chutes, the Leap Frogs fly their canopies together to build dramatic canopy-relative work formations.
For more information on the U.S. Navy Parachute Team Leap Frogs, leapfrogs.navy