08/16/2013 05:03 pm ET Updated Aug 16, 2013

Chicago Air & Water Show 2013 Features New Acts After Military Cancelations

Sure, this year's Chicago Air and Water Show will be down a few fan-favorite acts -- namely the Thunderbirds, the Blue Angels and the Golden Knights parachuters -- but what it lacks in military performers due to federal budget cuts, it is expected to more than make up for with several new additions to the lineup.

Among this year's newcomers to the show, according to DNAinfo Chicago, are the All-Veteran Parachute Team and the British Sea Harrier Jet, plus GEICO Skytypers who will be "sky-typing" messages that appear like text messages in the sky throughout the event.

Other headliners include the AeroShell Aerobatic Team, Sean D. Tucker & Team Oracle and Chuck Aaron in the Red Bull Helicopter.

(Scroll down to view photos of the 2012 Chicago Air and Water Show.)

Many planes were already out in force downtown beginning on Thursday to practice their runs, CBS Chicago reports.

As WGN notes, the Chicago Air and Water Show, which began in 1959, is the largest free show of its kind held in the U.S. and is one of the city's most popular annual events. Last year, an estimated 2 million people attended the show.

Admission to the show at North Avenue Beach, which begins at 10 a.m. and runs through 3 p.m. both days, is free. If you'd rather not make it down to the lakefront itself for the show, the Chicago Tribune has rounded up some recommendations for viewing and dining spots nearby.

2012 Chicago Air & Water Show
2012 Chicago Air & Water Show