(CBS) — The Chicago Air and Water Show returns to North Avenue Beach this weekend, with a practice session on Friday. The weather forecast looks good, so here are some important facts you need to know, and best places to watch the show:
- The show runs from 10 a.m. until about 3 p.m. on Aug. 18-19. The schedule is determined by the pilots each morning, but the headliners, this year it’s the Air Force Thunderbirds, always fly last.
- Aside from the Thunderbirds, the other main attractions are U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute team; U.S. Navy Leapfrogs parachute team; the AeroShell Acrobatic Team, Sean D. Tucker and Team Oracle; Bill Stein’s Aerosport, plus several other military aircraft. Che “Rhymefest” Smith will tandem jump with the Golden Knights on Aug. 18.
- If you can’t make it to North Avenue beach, there are a couple of other ways to see the planes. Friday is a full practice and the aircraft can be seen and heard downtown. The pilots do a media day on Thursday and the majority of planes flying in the show take off and land at the Gary Jet Center in Gary, Indiana. So, you can check that out Thursday-Sunday at that airport, too. And while you won’t see the whole show, the Thunderbirds, can be easily seen from Navy Pier, Millennium Park and Grant Park.
- Public transportation is highly recommended. Extra buses will be in service both Saturday and Sunday on the #22 Clark, #72 North and #151 Sheridan routes, which operate close to all the activities. For travel information, visit www.transitchicago.com. There is also a shuttle bus from the Millennium Park garage.
- This is the 60th year of the show. In 1959 the first show was held as part of a “Family Day” celebration for children enrolled in the Chicago Park District’s day camp program.
The budget was $88, and the show featured a Coast Guard Air Sea Rescue demonstration, water skiers, a water ballet, games and a diving competition. The following year, the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and Golden Knights Parachute Team performed to a huge crowd and the event became a Chicago summer tradition.