Memorial Day weekend Air & Sea Show features military jet flyovers, water rescue demos

·3 min read

The rumble of bombers and fighter jets over South Beach on Saturday could be heard from the shoreline and reverberating off Miami Beach buildings, signaling the start of Memorial Day weekend as the annual Hyundai Air & Sea Show drew excited spectators to the beach.

The two-day military celebration, first held in South Beach in 2017, kicked off with hours of flyovers from aircraft like the classic, eight-engine B-52 bomber and the sleek, supersonic F-16 jet.

The show returns to South Beach Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. There will be sea events until 12:30 p.m., followed by five hours of aerial demonstrations and flyovers. The public can view the events from the beach from 1st to 21st streets. A free interactive public display village will be open all day along Ocean Drive between 11th and 15th streets at Lummus Park.

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Crowds gathered Saturday at the show’s ticketed viewing area on the beach at 14th Street and on the public beach, where tourists took photos of the aerobatics and marine training demonstrations.

Guests in the ticketed area were treated to meet-and-greets with members of the U.S. Army Golden Knights and British Army Red Devils parachute teams. People also had an opportunity to high-five military personnel and take selfies after an ocean-rescue demo.

A member of the U.S. Navy Leap Frogs Parachute Team lands near a lifeguard tower during the Hyundai Air & Sea Show in Miami Beach on Saturday May 28, 2022.
A member of the U.S. Navy Leap Frogs Parachute Team lands near a lifeguard tower during the Hyundai Air & Sea Show in Miami Beach on Saturday May 28, 2022.

South Beach’s Art Deco buildings served as a beautiful backdrop to the airplane flyovers, said Air Force veteran Willy Williams, who is in Miami training for his job as a cargo pilot out of Houston.

“You could be flying crop dusters out here and people would still want to come here,” Williams said.

Air Force logistics officer Rob Vespe attended the show with his sons RJ, 10, and Nicolas, 7, who grabbed a photo with the Golden Knight parachute team after the group landed on the sand near the 12th Street lifeguard stand.

It was their first time at the South Beach event, though Vespe said he has been to similar military exhibitions in Homestead and Jacksonville.

“When you put the Miami twist on it, it’s very unique,” he said.

Visitors to a free display area in Lummus Park between 14th and 11th streets posed with tanks, while others participated in physical fitness challenges or got free fries from a Checkers food truck.

Beachgoers enjoy a beautiful weather at the Hyundai Air & Sea Show in Miami Beach on Saturday May 28, 2022.
Beachgoers enjoy a beautiful weather at the Hyundai Air & Sea Show in Miami Beach on Saturday May 28, 2022.

The accompanying music varied from party songs, “Party Up” by DMX, to more patriotic anthems, “Proud to be an American” by Lee Greenwood. And there was the somber playing of “Taps,” the bugle melody played at military funerals.

Many spectators dressed in American-flag apparel and some wore military attire. Food, water, beer and cocktails were for sale ($12 burgers, $11 cocktails, $7 beers and $3 water bottles) and visitors could choose from laying a towel on the beach or watching the festivities from a shaded bar or premium cabana seating.

“You can’t beat that,” Williams, the Air Force veteran, said as he smiled while watching an F-16 fly high above Ocean Drive.

Saturday’s festivities cap off with a concert from 3 Doors Down and a fireworks display beginning at 9:15 p.m.

Beach goers watch as members of the USAF 920th Combat Search & Rescue Demo perform a rescue exercise during the Hyundai Air & Sea Show 2022 in Miami Beach. on Saturday May 28, 2022,
Beach goers watch as members of the USAF 920th Combat Search & Rescue Demo perform a rescue exercise during the Hyundai Air & Sea Show 2022 in Miami Beach. on Saturday May 28, 2022,
The USAV LSV5 Mg Charles P. Gross seen off the coast of South Beach during the Hyundai Air & Sea Show 2022 in Miami Beach. on Saturday May 28, 2022,
The USAV LSV5 Mg Charles P. Gross seen off the coast of South Beach during the Hyundai Air & Sea Show 2022 in Miami Beach. on Saturday May 28, 2022,
A USAF F-16 Fighting Falcon (top) and a P-51 Mustang participate in the “Heritage Fly” over South Beach during the Hyundai Air & Sea Show 2022 in Miami Beach. on Saturday May 28, 2022,
A USAF F-16 Fighting Falcon (top) and a P-51 Mustang participate in the “Heritage Fly” over South Beach during the Hyundai Air & Sea Show 2022 in Miami Beach. on Saturday May 28, 2022,
USAF KC-135 Stratotanker flies over South Beach during the Hyundai Air & Sea Show 2022 in Miami Beach. on Saturday May 28, 2022,
USAF KC-135 Stratotanker flies over South Beach during the Hyundai Air & Sea Show 2022 in Miami Beach. on Saturday May 28, 2022,
Beach goers follows aircraft flying over South Beach during the Hyundai Air & Sea Show 2022 in Miami Beach. on Saturday May 28, 2022,
Beach goers follows aircraft flying over South Beach during the Hyundai Air & Sea Show 2022 in Miami Beach. on Saturday May 28, 2022,
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