CHICAGO (CBS) — Some 2 million people will attend the Air and Water Show this weekend.
Most, of course, will crowd onto the North Avenue Beach. But a couple dozen lucky guests will attend a party at arguably the best spot to watch the show – a penthouse at a high-rise right across the street.
CBS 2’s Lauren Victory took us inside Friday morning.
Victory stood out on the balcony with Ed Broesamle, with an idyllic view of Lake Michigan, Lincoln Park, the North Avenue Beach, a sky with an array of puffy clouds, and of course, the B1 bombers zooming by – below them at first.
“When they came in, they were actually below coming across here,” Broesamle said. “Kind of an eerie feeling.”
The U.S. Navy Blue Angels came next – in formation as always as they arced around in a circle. It’s one of many awestriking moves by the Blue Angels – as Broesamle notes, they will also sometimes come in straight just over the water and then shoot right up.
The first Air and Water Show took place 60 years ago, and it has stood as a defining aspect of late summer in Chicago for generations. Anyone who grew up in Chicago knows the sound of roaring jet engines and sonic booms over lakefront neighborhoods during the practice runs – and the show itself.
But Broesamle didn’t buy his penthouse with the Air and Water Show in mind. In fact, he wasn’t even familiar with the show when he bought the unit.
“I never knew it existed, actually, and I was never around here during that time,” he said.
Broesamle was actually a little alarmed when he heard those speeding jets the first year.
“I thought the world was coming apart when the planes started coming out,” he said, “I was still sleeping.”
But now, Broesamle makes sure his Air and Water Show viewing party is a highlight of a few lucky Chicagoans’ summer too. He has about 20 to 30 people on his 33rd-floor unit every year.
“I have food catered I’m going to bring in for everybody,” he said.
The 33rd floor is not the highest floor of Broesamle’s building. But that’s fine with him.
“You’re closer – you can see the people better, and from our vantage point, we’re not looking at other buildings,” he said.
Broesamle’s fondest memory of his party?
“Seeing other people enjoying it,” he said.
Broesamle welcomes friends from all over to his party – this year, some spectators are coming in from Mexico.