Hundreds of thousands of aerial onlookers made their way to the lakefront Saturday for the 60th annual Chicago Air & Water Show.
The summer spectacle kicked off at 10 a.m. with a parachute mission by the U.S. Army Golden Knights — who brought along Chicago rapper Che “Rhymefest” Smith for the ride — and the Navy Leap Frogs.
After landing, an inspired Rhymefest spoke about his venture from the skies to North Avenue Beach.
“Young people everywhere around Chicago should learn how to do this,” Rhymefest said. “I really think living like this will create more ideas and will [promote] a lot of positive behaviors,” he continued, asking one Golden Knight to speak to South Side youngsters.
Dozens of jaw-dropping displays by military and civilian aircrews, along with water rescue demonstrations by the U.S. Coast Guard, took place for five partly sunny hours.
Air & Water Show veteran Sean D. Tucker performed one of his last solo shows, flying in his custom Oracle Challenger III that will be donated to the Smithsonian National and Space Museum in 2021.
Prior to a headlining performance by the Air Force Thunderbirds, the Golden Knights commemorated fallen Chicago Police Cmdr. Paul Bauer by presenting a “Blue Line Flag” and a baton to Bauer’s family and colleagues.
The day wrapped up with a thunderous performance by the ‘Birds, as six F-16D jets soared and maneuvered around the city.
The skyward celebration continues on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Chicago Air & Water Show — A closeup look at the 2018 participants
Ballet at 27,000 feet: Thunderbirds refuel midair ahead of Air & Water Show
Air and Water Show veteran to perform final Chicago show before solo retirement
Rhymefest will tandem jump with parachute team to open Chicago Air & Water Show