Full-scale Chicago Air and Water Show returning in August

The beloved lakefront event will take place Aug. 20-21, centered at North Avenue Beach.

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The U.S. Navy Blue Angels, seen from North Avenue Beach, fly over Lake Michigan during an air show event that replaced the annual Chicago Air and Water Show in August 2021. 

The U.S. Navy Blue Angels, seen from North Avenue Beach, fly over Lake Michigan during an air show event that replaced the annual Chicago Air and Water Show in August 2021. The show returns as a full-scale event this year.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

The Chicago Air and Water Show returns in August as a full-scale extravaganza for the first time since 2019, it was announced Tuesday by the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE).

The beloved lakefront event will take place Aug. 20-21 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day, centered at North Avenue Beach.

This year’s lineup will include the Navy Blue Angels and the Golden Knights Army Parachute Team, and for the first time in a rare joint appearance, the U.S. Air Force Heritage Flight and U.S. Navy Legacy Flights will both participate in the show.

The legendary “voice of the Air and Water Show” Herb Hunter will return to the narrator’s microphone for the event, something he has done for more than 35 years.

The show was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic and was presented last year in a distinctly scaled-back, hourlong presentation by the Navy Blue Angels.

“After the absence of the show in 2020 and a scaled down version in 2021, this summer we are honored to be able to bring back in full force Chicago’s storied tradition — the Air and Water Show. Celebrating more than 60 years, the free event showcases incredible feats from world-class military and civilian teams over an exhilarating two days,” said Erin Harkey, DCASE commissioner.

Additional military performers this year will include: USN F-35C Lightning II, USAF F-22 Raptor, USAF C-17 Globemaster III, ANG A-10 Thunderbolt II (“Warthog”), ANG KC-135 Stratotanker, USMC V-22 Osprey Tiltrotor and USCG Search and Rescue Helicopter demonstration, Tuesday’s announcement revealed.

Civilian performers schedule to participate this year include Susan Dacy, Bill Stein, Kevin Coleman, Rob Holland, Triple Time Team, the Chicago Fire Department Air/Sea Rescue, and the Chicago Police Department helicopter.

This year’s performances by the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and the U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights are dedicated to the late Rudy Malnati Jr., the patriarch of the iconic Chicago pizza dynasty, who, for 30 years, also served as the director of the Air and Water Show. Malnati, who passed away last December, attended every show since its inception in 1959, his wife told the Sun-Times.

For more show information, visit chicagoairandwatershow.us.

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