CHICAGO (CBS) — The City of Chicago says 1.7 million people came out to Chicago’s lakefront Friday, Saturday and Sunday for the 55th annual Chicago Air and Water Show.
Federal budget cuts left the show with a little less sizzle this year, as all military airshow flights like the Thunderbirds were cancelled. CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley found most spectators didn’t seem to notice.
“I would have like to have seen them, would’ve loved to have seen a supersonic flyby,” said spectator Jeff Winzeler.
“I won’t lie, I was a bit disappointed when I heard that but so far I’ve been pleased with the changes,” said Aysha Ewing.
There were still parachutists falling out of the air and planes that seemed to fall out of the sky. The Geico Skytypers made their first air show appearance, turning the horizon into a giant message board while taking up the slack for the military acts.
Asked if the absence of military planes put a greater focus on his team, Jim Records of the Geico Skytypers said, “It very well might do that, since we’re a military type team, most of us are retired, or ex-military flight members. It might very well do that.”
Despite the near-perfect conditions, cloudless skies and delightful temperatures, lakefront crowds appeared to be somewhat smaller which means in air shows, like all show biz, stars do matters, but plenty of folks love it, no matter what.
“Everything around here is great. It’s good times out here. They put on a great show and I just dig it,” said spectator Matt Herzog.