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Air show drew smaller crowds, but ‘It’s been a great weekend’

Sunday was last day Chicago Air Water.  |  Alex Wroblewski/Sun-Times

Sunday was the last day of the Chicago Air and Water. | Alex Wroblewski/Sun-Times

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Updated: September 20, 2013 6:29AM

An estimated 1.7 million people attended the 2013 Chicago Air and Water Show, less than the estimated 2 million that attended in 2012.

Federal budget cuts kept the Thunderbirds and Blue Angels from performing this year, and their absence probably kept some viewers away. “I’m sure that had something to do with it,” said Mary May, a spokesman for the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs.

“But we’ve had a lot of new civilian performers this year . . . and we couldn’t have asked for better weather. It’s been a great great weekend,” May said.

“The show has an awesome economic impact on the city’s hotels, restaurants and shopping,” she said.

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