Chicago Air and Water Show features more local acts this year - FOX 32 News Chicago

Chicago Air and Water Show features more local acts this year

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Chicago's Air and Water Show, a summer staple for more than 20 years, takes place this weekend. It's usually an event that draws crowds so large, there isn't an empty patch of sand for miles.

Federal sequestration caused some of the big names to pull out of the lineup, so the show will be very different this year.

Perennial favorites like the Blue Angels, the Thunderbirds and the Golden Knights parachute team will not be flying. But show organizers said there will be six additional civilian and former military acts to watch. They believe the show will be every bit as good - or even better – than before.

"Every air show fan in the world loves smoke and noise and we've got the Aero Shell with the T-6 Texans, we got four of them, but we've also got the guys from SkyTypers with six SMJ's lot of smoke, lot of noise, lot of airplanes filling the skies," says Air & Water Show announcer Herb Hunter.

Chicago officials have declined to say whether they believe there will be fewer people in attendance. About 2 million people comprised last year's audience.

The days leading up to the show will be missing the boom of the jets practicing in the skies above the Loop and over Lake Michigan. Some people will not miss the preps, but dedicated fans will definitely miss them before and during the show.

Those who came out for the practice runs, enjoyed what they saw.

"I love the jets that fly or the smaller planes that fly and do all their exercises and they play taps and we feel very patriotic," Linda Kosarek said.

But for long time fans, the show was defined by the high octane military jets like the Blue Angels which tore down the lakefront at eye-popping speeds.

"I will miss those," says fan Tierney Sharif. "It's kinda nice to hear the roar of the jets feel that coming and look for that anticipation, but it's still enjoyable all day and Sunday."

Fans had mixed feelings about the decision to ground all military aircraft due to the federal budget cuts.

"Shouldn't have been done," says Richard Kosarek. "This is great publicity for the military and they should never have cut back on that, should have still had the military planes it was worth it."

While there will be plenty of aeronautical excitement with daring maneuvers and picture perfect formations, despite the loss of the major jet headliners.

Organizers hope to fill some of those missing thrills with a Sea Harrier, capable of flying at 600 knots along with the ability to hover like a helicopter.

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