Boogie of the Year—The 2018 Summerfest Boogie
Features | Oct 01, 2018
Boogie of the Year—The 2018 Summerfest Boogie

Casey McGrath

For the 11th year, Skydive Chicago in Ottawa, Illinois, delivered Summerfest—its annual midsummer celebration of all things skydiving—July 28 through August 5. Jumpers from all over the world gathered for a week of blue skies, nightly entertainment and what returning attendees describe as “the ultimate sky family reunion.”

With an impressive lineup of vendors and freefly, angle, belly and wingsuit organizers, Summerfest attracts both the novice and seasoned skydiver alike—roughly 600 loads of them, according to pilot Herman Reinhold. The fleet of four aircraft—including three Twin Otters and a Skyvan—saw everything from costumed fun jumpers to competition hopefuls exit their doors, and the boogie’s accomplished and artistically diverse staff of videographers and photographers were there to catch every energy-infused moment.

“We try to make Summerfest anything and everything you want it to be,” says Skydive Chicago Director of Marketing and Events A.J. Johnson. “We work hard all year to make sure that when you get here, there is a plethora of planes, load organizers, jumps, events, bands, games, vendors and yes, giant inflatable battle games for potential weather holds.”

The festivities continued well after the last canopy landed each night: The week’s events, all hosted at Skydive Chicago’s open-air tiki bar, included a guest illusionist and magic show, real-life foosball, big-boy beer pong, a sip and paint, live music and a masquerade party DJ’d by the DZO himself, Rook Nelson. A full fireworks display and demo jump commemorated the final weekend.

For its nine-day tenure, Summerfest transforms one of the largest skydiving resorts in the world into an extraordinary tribute to the spirit of skydiving, one that—for first-timers especially—sets the standard high for boogies thereafter.

Casey McGrath | B-42728
Lockport, Illinois

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