Do You Know Your Airshow History?

Air and sea shows bring citizens prowling the skies in South Florida following Mickey Markoff’s launch of the first S. Florida show in 1995.

Mickey Markoff
3 min readJan 7, 2021
Blue angels during air show posted on Mickey Markoff article ‘prowling the skies-do you know your air & sea show history
Photo by Todd Diemer on Unsplash

Air and sea shows have a rich history in the United States which have helped to showcase seacraft and aviation performances throughout the decades. In 1959, Chicago became home to one of the nation’s first shows of this type with the launch of the Lakeshore Park Air & Water Show. Despite being run on a budget of only $88 (around $800 in 2021 dollars), the show went off successfully, paving the way for more shows of its kind over the years.

If we fast forward a few decades, air and sea shows are now present in multiple states across the nation, as well as the world at large. One can certainly understand the appeal. The events often include demonstrations and exhibits on offer, providing a spectacle for audiences. It is not unusual to see a collaboration with armed forces, with squadrons such as the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels as frequent flyers in many air shows. In addition to being entertaining, these events help to educate event-goers on the goings on of different branches of the armed forces and their capabilities.

Markoff’s Venture into Air Shows in 1995

It is this aspect that is so exciting about the history of the Air and Sea shows in South Florida. Since the Chicago show in 1959, the scope and scale of these type of events has certainly expanded. 1995 saw the first annual Air and Sea Show in South Florida, spearheaded by executive producer Mickey Markoff.

One of the hallmarks of these shows has been a consistent presence of armed forces performances, from the United States and abroad. The first annual event included performances from the Royal Canadian Air Force Snowbirds, an homage to our friends to the north. Other spectacles have included the Blue Angels and U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, as well as demonstrations by the first woman Thunderbird pilot, Nicole Malachoski.

The Air and Sea shows have helped to break ground for many, and provide an opportunity for civilians to get a peep at the underpinnings of our nation’s great organizations. The upcoming National Salute to America’s Heroes carries on the tradition, helping not only to salute our armed forces, but also honor the healthcare and frontline workers who have helped defend our nation against the still-raging coronavirus pandemic.

Air Shows Are A Salute to America’s Heroes

The National Salute to America’s Heroes, however, brings the normally weekend event into the everyday with their “Salute 365” initiative and Folds of Honor Scholarship Fund. Bringing the same energy from the seas and skies to daily life, the initiative seeks to carry the honor through the year by supporting our heroes. 2020 saw the initiative reward four local heroes with new Hyundai Sonatas, and three students with scholarships for college. It has been a joy to see the impact that these events have had over the years. As we approach the next Air Sea Show in 2021 launched by Markoff, keep your eyes on the skies for more to come Memorial Day weekend.

This story was previously published on Mickey Markoff’s website.

About Mickey Markoff

Mickey Markoff is best-known as an executive producer of the Air and Sea Show. Markoff is also President of MDM Group, an innovative South Florida firm that develops effective multidimensional marketing campaigns. Learn more about Mickey Markoff , and the history of the air and sea show here.

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