The Chicago Air and Water Show

Daniel Hautzinger
Golden Knights. Photo: City of Chicago, DCASE
Golden Knights. Photo: City of Chicago, DCASE

The Reader may consider the Chicago Air & Water Show an annoyance, but apparently the public doesn't: the event is now in its 59th year, and supposedly draws an annual audience of around two million people to the lakeshore, according to the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, which manages the show. It began in 1959 with a small show organized by a Chicago Park District employee at Chicago Avenue and the lake. With a budget of $88, the event featured the Coast Guard, water skiers, and a diving competition. In 1960, it expanded to include stunts by the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and Golden Knights Parachute Team – the latter will perform this year. The Golden Knights share the headline on August 19 and 20 with the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and Parachute Team Leap Frogs, while former Chicago Cubs catcher David Ross will jump tandem with a Knight on August 19. Explore dazzling modern and amusing historic photos of the event here.

The Chicago Air and Water Show. Photo: City of Chicago, DCASEPhoto: City of Chicago, DCASE

The Chicago Air and Water Show. Photo: City of Chicago, DCASEPhoto: City of Chicago, DCASE

The Chicago Air and Water Show. Photo: City of Chicago, DCASEPhoto: City of Chicago, DCASE

The Chicago Air and Water Show. Photo: City of Chicago, DCASEPhoto: City of Chicago, DCASE

The Chicago Air and Water Show. Photo: City of Chicago, DCASEPhoto: City of Chicago, DCASE

The Chicago Air and Water Show. Photo: City of Chicago, DCASEPhoto: City of Chicago, DCASE

The Chicago Air and Water Show. Photo: City of Chicago, DCASEPhoto: City of Chicago, DCASE

The Chicago Air and Water Show. Photo: City of Chicago, DCASEPhoto: City of Chicago, DCASE

The Chicago Air and Water Show. Photo: City of Chicago, DCASEPhoto: City of Chicago, DCASE

Chicago
Air and Water Show