Despite discouraging weather predictions, I decided to head downtown on Saturday to see the Chicago Air & Water Show. As usual, I took the Metra train to Ogilvie Transportation Center and strolled down Wacker to the Riverwalk. Looking back at the River Point building I should have been warned by the cloud reflections that things were going to get rather wet but, ever the optimist, I continued on. I’d brought a light raincoat with me and now I was there I was determined to make the most of the day.
I walked east, past the floating gardens that are designed to attract butterflies and was pleased to see that, despite the gloomy skies, they seemed to be serving their purpose.
There was a good deal of traffic on the river including a flotilla of kayakers, water taxis, and sightseeing boats as well as all the private craft that were bobbing up and down and skimming along the waterway.
By the time I got to the Nicholas J. Melas Centennial Fountain and Water Arc, it had started raining so I took shelter under the fountain which gave me an interesting perspective of the waterfall and, as luck would have it, I was there in time to see the water shoot across the river, causing a tour boat to wait prudently until it had subsided.
I retraced my steps back to Michigan Avenue and walked down towards Oak Street Beach but by the time I got to Water Tower Place the rain had increased and I was feeling rather peckish so I decided to duck in there and get something to eat. I was met by the sight of hundreds of screaming teenagers (and some considerably older) flocking in to see someone called Jeffree Star. I had no idea who he was so I whipped out the phone and Googled the name. Apparently he is a You Tube personality and has made a fortune out of promoting his life-style on the internet. He was visiting Chicago to open one of his cosmetic stores and the fans were going crazy! Seven floors of yelling devotees chanting “Jeffree! Jeffree!” I’m always looking for a good photo opportunity so I abandoned the idea of getting lunch and went up to the third floor where most of the action was taking place. Unfortunately, by the time I figured out what was going on, the crowd was already about 5 deep all around the balconies, there was no way I could squeeze in and security was extremely tight regarding where you could stand. When Jeffree finally put in an appearance and the screaming reached a crescendo, I could only glimpse the top of his head. He stepped out and waved to the crowd, cut the ribbon and disappeared inside the store. It was all over in a matter of minutes. That’s one of the reasons I love coming to the city! You never know what you’re going to see!
It was still raining when I left Water Tower Place so I went a few doors down to The Cheesecake Factory for some pizza. By the time I emerged into the daylight again, the rain had eased off so I continued on until I reached Oak Street Beach just in time to see a trail of colored smoke left behind by a team of jet planes. It was already late afternoon and there was nowhere dry to sit so I took up a position on the path and waited to see what, if anything, would fly by. Eventually three stunt planes came into sight, diving and soaring and doing loops. But somehow the clouds seemed to dampen everyone’s enthusiasm and when the rain started up again I joined a stream of people heading back to Michigan Avenue.
My last shot was of the Old Water Tower with the John Hancock Center beside it. Despite the miserable weather it was an interesting, if watery, day.