One of Chicago’s biggest events of the summer is right around the corner! The 58th Chicago Air and Water Show at North Avenue Beach is set for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 20 & 21.
This year’s show will see the return of headliners U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights, U.S. Navy Parachute Team Leap Frogs and a new attraction, the F-35 Heritage Flight Team. Other military performances include the U.S.A.F. F-16 Fighting Falcon, U.S.A.F. F-18 and the U.S. Coast Guard.
The show will also include performances from several civilian teams, including the AeroShell Aerobatic Team, Aerostars, Sean D. Tucker and Team Oracle, Bill Stein Airshows The Firebirds Delta Team, Matt Chapman Airshows, Davy Dacy in the Super Stearman Model 70 and the Warbird Heritage Museum Foundation A-4 Skyhawk Jet Tac Demo. Visitors will also be treated to a demonstration from the Chicago Fire Department Air/Sea Rescue Team.
The very first Chicago Air and Water Show was hosted in 1959 at Chicago Avenue and Lake Michigan. It began as a celebration for children participating in the Chicago Park District day camp program. The total budget for the first show was just $88 and featured demonstrations from divers, water skiers and the Coast Guard Air Sea Rescue. It was just one year later that the Thunderbirds and Golden Knights Parachute Team joined the show, performing to thousands of Chicagoans.
Today the event is managed by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events on North Avenue Beach. Crowds are estimated each year at about 1.5 to 2 million people.
Even though the show can be seen from countless vantage points around the city, without a doubt the epicenter is North Avenue Beach. Phil Stefani’s Castaways Bar & Grill sits in the heart of North Avenue Beach, and the party will be rocking all weekend long during the Air and Water Show. In addition to our menu of delicious burgers, salads, sandwiches and drinks, Castaways is planning special entertainment all weekend.
When 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday Aug. 20 & 21
Where North Avenue Beach
Public Transit Visit transitchicago.com
Parking Park at Millennium Garages, located at: Millennium Park Garage and Millennium Lakeside Garage at 5 S. Columbus Drive, Grant Park North Garage at 25 N. Michigan Ave. and Grant Park South Garage at 325 S. Michigan Ave. Pay $35 for the whole day and take a free shuttle from Millennium Park to North Avenue Beach.
Biking Divvy Bikes will offer its valet service at select stations Saturday and Sunday. Locations include Theater on the Lake, Clark and North, Michigan and Oak and Streeter and Illinois.
© 2018 Phil Stefani Signature Restaurants
Photography by Nick Ulivieri