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Chicago Air and Water Show 2011


Golden Knights jumping out of a plane

Golden Knights jumping out of a plane

Photo via City of Chicago

In Brief:

The Chicago Air & Water Show happens each summer for one weekend in August, and over 2 million people flock to the shores of Lake Michigan for the event. It is the oldest and largest free show of its kind in the United States.


Along the Lake Michigan lake front, from Fullerton Avenue to Oak Street Beach. North Avenue Beach is the main focal point.


Saturday, August 20, & Sunday, August 21, 2011


Saturday - Sunday, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. each day. Times and performers subject to change.



Getting to the Chicago Air and Water Show By Public Transportation:

CTA bus routes 151 or 156

Parking at the Chicago Air and Water Show:

Remember the bit that over 2 million people will be in attendance? Chicago public transportation is highly recommended. But if you really must drive, get there early, and you can maybe score a spot in the Lincoln Park Zoo/North Avenue Beach parking lot. The entrance to the lot is just west of Lake Shore Drive on Fullerton Avenue.

About the Chicago Air and Water Show 2011:

The Chicago Air and Water Show rivals only Taste of Chicago as one of the biggest events of the summer. The oldest and largest show of its kind in the country, the show features performers such as:

  • U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds
  • U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights
  • U.S. Navy Leap Frogs Parachute Team
  • Aeroshell Aerobatic Team
  • Bill Stein Airshows Zivko Edge 540
  • Chicago Fire Department Air and Sea Rescue Team
  • Dave Dacy in the Super Stearman
  • The Firebirds ("extreme" style flying)
  • Lima Lima Flight Team
  • Matt Chapman Aerobatics
  • Sean Tucker & Team Oracle

NOTE: While the same acts should perform each day, because of variations in logistics and flight conditions there is no set schedule -- times are determined by the pilots on the day of the event. Generally headliners (which this year are the Thunderbirds, Leap Frogs, and Golden Knights) go last.

On the water side of the event, the Shell Extreme Water Show entertains the crowd with some of the world's finest wave riders cruising along the waves of Lake Michigan.

As one reader reminded me, the day before the show starts is "practice day" so if you're downtown on Friday and hear jets roaring overhead we're not being invaded -- head over to the lakefront to see some of the action while avoiding the crowds.

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