Chicago gears up for big weekend

August 14, 2009 (CHICAGO) Hundreds of thousands of people will be heading to the Air and Water Show and there are plenty of neighborhood events too.

From Summer Dance in Grant Park to the Orchestra at Millennium, Chicago is packed with people.

"I love Chicago in the summer. There is so much to do," said Sandie Tucker, Chicago resident.

The biggest attraction this weekend is the Chicago Air and Water Show, a weekend event expected to draw more than 2 million spectators. Practice was held Friday.

"I have some really good friends who have air show parties up on the 22nd floor and 30th floor so I'll watch it from the window," said Pam Carcerano, Air & Water Show enthusiast.

Even on Friday, hundreds of people turned out for the show before the show.

"It is a hidden secret that Friday is the full show. It's their practice," said Megan McDonald, Mayor's Office of Special Events.

"This is the best kept secret. It's less crowded and you get to see everything. All the planes, especially the military planes, the jets and everything. This is the best kept secret. Less traffic," said Edward Williams, Robbins

"Been enjoying it all day. Have perfect weather. It's great to watch. These guys are fabulous at what they're doing. It's absolutely fabulous," said Michael Carstens, Palatine This year's highlights include the Air Force Thunderbirds' precision acrobatics and the U.S. Army's Golden Knights parachute teams.

"Just the same story we tell for over 56 years that the Thunderbirds like to travel all over the country and world and represent the 700,000 men and women who serve on active duty, reserve and guard," said Rick Goodman, U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds.

"Hitting the dead center which is about the size of a medium pizza. We are jumping from 2.5 miles up and landing on a medium sized pizza," said Staff Sgt. Howard Sanborn, U.S. Army Golden Knights.

"I will be representing them all. It's an honor, definitely," said Melissa Stockwell, a Hometown Hero who will jump with the skydive team.

ABC7's Stacey Baca jumped with the Golden Knights on Thursday. And on Wednesday, Chicago firefighter and Hometown Hero Brian Otto flew with the Thunderbirds.

This year's new addition is the Red Bull Helicopter, an acrobatic helicopter.

"I hope I inspire people to think outside the box. There are new things out there. Don't think everything is figured out and designed yet. We're a long ways from it," said Chuck 'Malibu' Aaron, Red Bull helicopter pilot.

The show runs Saturday and Sunday at the North Avenue Beach- though the jets can be seen soaring into place from different spots in the city.

If you miss the show- or just want to relive the excitement- watch ABC7's CHICAGO'S TOP GUNS: A WET AND WILD WEEKEND on Sunday at 10:35 p.m. The half-hour special will also be shown on ABC7 on August 23 at 3 p.m. Plus, it will air on Live Well (7.2) on Tuesday, August 18 at 2:00 pm and again on Thursday, August 20th at 2 pm.

You can always watch it on-demand right here on

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