Milwaukee Air and Water Show – Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Further up the shores of Lake Michigan sits Milwaukee, and they’re getting ready for the planes and people that are set to descend upon Bradford Beach on August 11 and 12. Admission here is free, but if you want your own assigned general admission seat you’re going to have to shell out around $22 or so.
There are all kinds of different types of planes and pilots scheduled to do their thing, but organizers seem especially excited to see what the Black Diamonds Jet Team have to offer. Apparently there like the best when it comes to civilian airshow squadrons. US Navy SEALS will also be on hand as part of their Leapfrogs Parachute Demonstration Team, and that means plenty of brave military men leaping out of airplanes from high in the sky. The Marines, Navy, Air Force, Army, Cost Guard, and even the National Guard will all be represented, and of course there will be plenty of biplanes showing off their colorful contrails.
Chicago Air and Water Show – Chicago, Illinois
We might have saved the best for last, but it’s worth it as the granddaddy of all the summer shows takes place in Chicago on August 18 and 19. Free admission to one and all, and all you’ll have to do is make your way to North Avenue Beach nice and early to score yourself a comfortable spot. More than 2 million people have attended—in one way or another—in the past, so you’ll definitely be among friends.
Headliners this year include the F/A-18 Hornets of the US Navy Blue Angels, but the parachute teams from both the Army—the Golden Knights—and the Navy—the Leap Frogs—will give them some serious competition. Kirby Chambliss in the Red Bull Edge 540 and Aeroshell Aerobatic Team are just some of the civilian performers that will do their thing right over Lake Michigan. We don’t want to play favorites, but if you can only attend one of these festivals this summer—this is the one to see.