The Chicago Air and Water show is an annual 2-day summer festival held on the shores of Lake Michigan that showcases brilliant aerial demonstrations. The US Air force Thunderbirds are among the event headliners. Fighter jets perform elaborate maneuvers and fly in breathtaking formations; the pilots win accolades with their precision flying and audacious stunts. Helicopters, hot air balloons, parachutes and boats are also part of the event. It is largest free event in the United States and can be seen along most of lakefront areas.
Most viewers prefer the focal point North Avenue beach to watch the event; some view it from the water on their boats or kayaks. City-dwellers have all day picnics at various city beaches. The lakefront is full of cabanas and tents, beach chairs and blankets as everyone tries to claim good vantage point. People swim and splash in the water and have picnic lunches as they view the spectacular thrills performed above them.
The Air and Water Show mirrors the resilient spirit of Chicago on the sparkling waters of Lake Michigan and brings joy to viewers of all ages.
I observed the annual Chicago air and Water show from Oak street beach in August 2010.