Uncertainty Surrounds Chicago Air & Water Show

Annual show will fly without military involvement

The Chicago Air & Water Show will take flight this weekend, but the absence of several headliners has many wondering whether people will flock to the lakefront in the same numbers.

This year's federal sequestration battle led to budget cuts that eliminated military planes from the Chicago show, and other shows all over the country. That means no Air Force Thunderbirds, the Navy Blue Angels or the Army Golden Knights.

But city officials are assuring fans that the show won't lose a step this year when it kicks off Aug. 17-18 at North Avenue Beach.

A mix of six new corporate and civilian groups -- including some using former military planes -- have been tapped to perform this year, like the GEICO SkyTypers and the All Veteran Parachute Team. (View Lineup)

The Chicago show typically attracts 2 million people to the lakefront, but city officials would not say whether they expect a drop in attendance this year, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Show announcer Herb Hunter told NBC 5 that he just did a show in Milwaukee and the crowds were as big as they usually are, even without the military aircraft.

Rockford AirFest organizers canceled their Labor Day weekend show this year after learning the military planes would not be able to participate.

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