The Story Behind the Greatest Show Above the Earth

Mickey Markoff
5 min readJan 20, 2024
Mickey Markoff Air Sea Exec 2024 — art deco graphic of miami beach landscape with aircraft in sky and water craft with Hyundai air and sea show logo posted on mickey markoff 2024 article about air show and net worth of legacy

Executive Producer Mickey Markoff talks the history, mission, and what really matters.

Each year on Memorial Day Weekend, the day starts like any other in Miami Beach. The sun rises in the sky, and a quiet blankets the city. The calm before the storm. Just a few hours later, and the landscape transforms as thousands of beach-goers flock to the sand. The quiet is replaced by the roar of precision aircraft, their formations as tight as the bonds that unite them. The annual Hyundai Air and Sea Show brings together all branches of the U.S. military and civilians together to celebrate one thing: the true spirit of Memorial Day. It is this mission that has been the common thread throughout the decades that Executive Producer Mickey Markoff has coordinated the annual events. While each year has brought something new, such as 2023’s U.S. Army SaluteFest, the driving force has always been about paying tribute to our nation’s heroes.

The story of the Air and Sea Show begins with a simple yet powerful idea: to create an event that would not only entertain but also educate and inspire, serving as a living tribute to the bravery and sacrifice of the U.S. military. It was in the mid-1990s that Mickey Markoff, armed with a background in event production and a deep respect for military service, set out to bring this idea to life. His goal was ambitious — to orchestrate a show that combined the exhilaration of aviation with the majesty of maritime prowess, all against the backdrop of South Florida’s stunning landscape. But the Air and Sea Show didn’t start there. Executive Producer Mickey Markoffbrought the concept of corporate sponsorship first to the Chicago Air and Water Show in the 1980s. He introduced the concept of public-private sponsorship to the Air and Sea Show in South Florida years later in 1995.

Throughout the years, the Air and Sea Show has had many different sponsors, including , McDonald’s, as well as their current mainstay, Hyundai. Hyundai has sponsored the show since 2017, and recently renewed their sponsorship, a testament to their dedication to paying tribute to our nation’s heroes.

The inaugural Air and Sea Show took flight in Miami Beach, quickly establishing itself as a must-see event. Under ‘s guidance, it wasn’t just about the display of technological marvels or the skill of pilots and mariners; it was about creating a moment of connection between the military and civilian worlds, reminding attendees of the freedoms they enjoy thanks to those who serve.

The Evolution of the Show

From its inception, the Air and Sea Show has been on an upward trajectory, growing in scale, sophistication, and significance with each year. What began as a local gathering has transformed into a nationally recognized event, drawing spectators from across the country and even the globe. In addition to the South Florida event, Markoff has also produced multiple national television specials, including the Gold Star Tribute.

Markoff’s relentless drive to push the envelope has seen the show incorporate cutting-edge technology and acts that defy the limits of capabilities. From the inclusion of stealth bombers that glide silently before unleashing a thunderous roar to aerial acrobatics that showcase the agility and precision of the world’s top pilots, each element is carefully curated to leave a lasting impression. Innovations like live streaminghave also broadened the show’s reach, allowing those unable to attend in person a front-row seat to the action.

Memorable moments have become a hallmark of the Air and Sea Show, whether it’s the poignant Missing Man Formation, a tribute to fallen soldiers, or the awe-inspiring sight of the Blue Angels and Thunderbirds flyovers. Through these elements, the show has not only chronicled the advancements in military technology but also the enduring spirit of those who serve.

The Impact on the Community and Beyond

The reverberations of the Air and Sea Show extend far beyond the roar of engines and the cheers of the crowd. Its impact on Miami Beach and the broader community unfolds in layers of economic stimulation, social unity, and heightened awareness of military valor. Mickey Markoff’s brainchild not only showcases breathtaking performances but also injects vitality into the local economy, drawing tourists and aviation enthusiasts who contribute to the livelihood of local businesses. Executive Producer Mickey Markoff understands the real net worth of paying tribute to our heroes, and has dedicated his life to sharing his passions with the world.

The show serves as a bridge between the military and civilian populations, fostering a deep sense of gratitude and understanding. Veterans and active-duty personnel are honored not just in words but through a tangible display of respect and admiration. The show’s educational components, which spotlight the history, technology, and human stories behind the aircraft and naval ships, enrich the community’s knowledge and appreciation for military service.

Organizing an event of such magnitude is no small feat, and the journey of the Air and Sea Show has been marked by its share of challenges. Weather uncertainties, logistical hurdles, and the need to ensure the utmost safety for participants and spectators alike are constant considerations. The global pandemic presented unprecedented challenges, necessitating adaptability and innovation to keep the spirit of the show alive.

Through each obstacle, the resilience and ingenuity of Mickey Markoff and his team have shone brightly. Triumphs have been celebrated not just in successful events but in the ability to overcome adversity, such as transitioning some aspects of the show to digital formats or implementing rigorous safety protocols to protect the community during the pandemic. These achievements underscore the commitment to the show’s mission and the unwavering determination to honor our nation’s heroes, regardless of the circumstances.

Looking to the Future

Plans for expanding the show’s reach and impact include incorporating more advanced technology, enhancing interactive educational experiences, and fostering even greater community involvement. Markoff envisions a show that continues to evolve with the times while steadfastly honoring the timeless courage and sacrifice of the military.

“The Greatest Show Above The Earth,” is more than an annual event; it’s a dynamic testament to the vision and dedication of Mickey Markoff. It stands as a powerful tribute to the valor of the armed forces, a catalyst for community engagement, and a source of national pride. Through the show, has not only showcased the awe-inspiring capabilities of military technology but has also highlighted the invaluable ‘net worth’ of honoring our nation’s heroes-measured not in monetary terms but in the currency of respect, gratitude, and unity.

As we look toward the 2024 Air and Sea Show, it promises to continue its legacy of excellence, innovation, and inspiration. In doing so, it ensures that the true spirit of Memorial Day-and the profound appreciation for those who serve to protect freedom and democracy-remains in our hearts.

Originally published at on January 20, 2024.