CHICAGO — Despite steady rainfall soaking spectators at the annual Chicago Air and Water show, many ‘braved the elements’ to see the full-scale return of the summer spectacle.
While the show wasn’t a complete washout, Mother Nature did have her way, with many spectators waiting on the weather to pass.
“We got rain coming down, ha! So what? It’s a beach; you’re going to get wet. Let’s have fun with this,” said someone over a loudspeaker.
Even when the weather is ‘a little off,’ the show must go on. At this year’s Chicago Air and Water show, the emphasis was certainly on the water.
The show was delayed for about an hour and 15 minutes. Still, organizers tried to keep the crowd entertained, playing ‘Singing in the Rain’ over the loudspeakers and inspiring grandfather Ken O’Rourke – whose son is a US Army golden knight parachute jumper – to dance through the raindrops with his 5-year-old granddaughter Hadley.
“I love to be with my grandkids and have fun with them and show them that it’s OK to deal with adversity, and even in the rain, we can have some fun,” O’Rourke said.
Others tried dances of their own, perhaps trying to summon the sun.
“Honestly, everybody’s complaining, but this is Chicago, baby,” spectator Moise Melinte said.
There were more umbrellas overhead than planes, sending spectator Brody Dickinson and his buddies to buy some protection from the elements.
“Got to make sure to bring your ponchos, it was rainy, really windy earlier, but besides that, it’s a lot of fun,” Dickinson said.
However, there were pockets of dry weather as organizers squeezed in the F-22 and the Osprey helicopter demonstrations.
Erick Melvin said it was thrilling to see.
“The show’s actually going pretty well with the weather, and the weather’s holding off as much as it can,” he said.
During the delay, the crowd thinned, though many wanted to hold on to see the US Navy Blue Angels’ dazzling demonstration team. The Blue Angels did appear in their signature Delta formation – and put on a shortened show, passing over the crowd only a handful of times.
“It was a lot of anticipation, waiting for the end of the game, like waiting for the end of the show, but it was worth it, seeing them all six of them go over and hearing the noise, it was worth it,” Sophia Howell said.
The Chicago Air and Water Show continues Sunday with a scheduled start time of 10 a.m. The event concludes at 2 p.m. City officials are asking people to take public transportation to ease congestion near the lakefront.