The 57th Annual Chicago Air and Water Show – August 15 & 16

The Chicago Air and Water Show presented by Shell Oil Products U.S. and the City of Chicago is the largest FREE show of its kind in the United States. The show can be viewed along the lakefront from Fullerton to Oak Street, with North Avenue Beach as the focal point.

August will be the 59th anniversary of the largest free show of its kind.

Blue Angles Over Chicago

Blue Angles Over Chicago

Shell first ran the Air and Water Show in 1959. It was called the ‘Lakeshore Park Air & Water Show’, ran at Chicago Avenue and Lake Michigan, 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. The Golden Knights didn’t have a beach to land on so they landed in the Water. Chicago Park District Lifeguards had to fish them out. But a sizeable crowd turned up. And by the next year, this crowd increased. Today, more than 2 million people turn up from all over the States just to watch this show.

Imagine top civilian and military pilots and aircraft of 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. Imagine four people holding hands floating in a circle above your city. And planes looping in unison. Golden Knights jump out of an aircraft 12,500 feet above the earth’s surface. And fourteen Leap Frogs leap out of another at an altitude of 12,500 feet. This year, the French-based Breitling Jet Team will wow crowds with their seven jets that can reach speeds of up to 565 mph. And that’s just some of the sights.

Utmost safety precautions are kept before, during, and after the show. Planes take off and land at the Gary/Chicago International Airport in Gary, Indiana. Pilots perform stunts over the water in a set safety area. Fourteen federal, state and city agencies work together to control the proceedings. And organizers work closely with the FAA and various City Departments to assure participant safety.

Want to provide the kids with some aviator slang?
Here’s some for you:
Ok nugget, kick the tires, light the fires,
select Zone 5, tag the bogey
but don’t get in a furball.
Don’t boresight, check six,
bingo to Mom — Got it?
Enjoy the show!

Best Sightlines
• Show Center – North Avenue Beach
• The Lakefront from Oak Street Beach to Fullerton
• Ohio Street Beach

Tune into WBBM Newsradio 780 and 105.9FM on Saturday and Sunday from 10am until 3pm for a live broadcast of the show.


Article by:  Leah Zitter, Writer