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A Different Air & Water Show On Tap

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Aug 16, 2013 6:00PM

Photo by Benjy Lipsman

Usually our Twitter feed is full of people cursing the roar of military jets buzzing the Loop in the days leading up to Air & Water Show weekend. This year, the silence has been deafening. Due to cutbacks in military operations tied to the government sequestration, air show performances by military aircraft demonstration teams have been grounded.

With standbys like the originally scheduled headliner United States Air Force Thunderbirds and the Navy’s Blue Angels flight teams and the Army’s Golden Knights parachute team unable to attend, the 2013 show will have a different look the show will have a different, and somewhat quieter, feel this year without the standard flybys by military aircraft.

But the show does go on. While many air shows were simply cancelled in the wake of losing many of their most popular performers, Chicago scrambled to add new acts to fill out the schedule for the 55th annual show. As in past years, the 2013 Air & Water Show will take place both Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. at North Avenue Beach. As always, it's open to the public and free to attend. Those who want to catch the show without the crowds can hit the beach today, as most acts take part in a full rehearsal.

Still on the docket are regulars like AeroShell Aerobatic Team, Sean D. Tucker and Team Oracle, Lima Lima Flight Team, and the Firebirds Delta Team. Among the new additions are the Aerostars All Veteran Parachute Team, and the GEICO SkyTypers. Some privately owned military jets will take part, as will an American Airlines 737 -- bet that'll confuse the passengers on board! A new highlight will be voice of the Blackhawks Jim Cornelison singing the National Anthem after skydiving on to North Ave. Beach to open the show.

While many expect attendance to be down significantly in the wake of the line-up changes, you can still expect North Avenue Beach to be packed this weekend for the show. To learn how to best view the show, former Chicagoisto and amateur pilot Todd McClamroch offers up his annual viewing guide.

Five Places To Watch The Air & Water Show In Style