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Wet and wild day for Air and Water Show

August 17, 2009 8:37:01 AM PDT
Chicago area residents and visitors enjoyed a wet and wild Sunday along the lake front as clouds and rain delayed and shortened the final day of the 51st annual Chicago Air and Water Show. Still, patient spectators got to see all of the big military and civilian acts.The heaviest rain moved in after the show ended for the day. However, some showers came earlier with wind and low clouds hampering some of the scheduled performances.

Download a video podcast of Chicago's Top Guns: A Wet And Wild Weekend or Stream it and watch it now.

Not 15 minutes after the show ended, there was an announcement over the loud speaker telling people that there was a line of thunderstorms coming through and that they had to get off of the beach. So, Sunday was the day to get to the air and water show early. Those who did so enjoyed sunny skies, at least for the event's first couple of hours.

Planes like the F-16 fighter jets wowed the audience as they buzzed down the lakefront at 600mph.

"It's really neat to be so close to hear the planes and see them really up close," said Air and Water show fan Michelle Davies.

" It was really cool. I like how they have so many planes and all the different tricks they can do," fan Amy Yip said.

Another of the show's top acts was the Red Bull Helicopter, which performed back flips, barrel rolls and lots of other things helicopters aren't supposed to do.

"To have a family day and for it to be free and not cost a lot, it's great," said fan Cosette Yisrael.

Unfortunately, after just a few acts, the skies became cloudy, and some of the show schedule was affected. Chicago firefighter Brian Otto's expected tandem jump with the U.S. Army Golden Knights was cancelled because of the low visibility.

"It was a little wet. It's like a pool, like going to the ocean. We made up any excuse could," said spectator Jeremy Jobling.

While it rained heavily for a bit, in the end, the audience's patience was rewarded. The Thunderbirds moved up their act by 20 minutes, and it was not disrupted by additional rain.

Cloudy or not, it was still one breathtaking show.

"It's a great show, but I think these guys are out of their minds. They're perfectionists!" said John Dibuo, who was also at the show.

"The weather cooperated a little bit better yesterday than today. We were able to get the whole show in today. People had an unbelievable time. I think when you have a free air and water show, it makes a big difference," the Mayor's Office of Special Events' Megan McDonald said.

Organizers estimate that about 2 million people viewed the Air and Water show this weekend.

You can catch a complete wrap-up of all of the Air and Water show action Sunday night at 10:35 p.m. on ABC7 Chicago as meteorologists Jerry Taft and Tracy Butler host "Chicago's Top Guns: A Wet and Wild Weekend."


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