Air and Sea Show Will Return in 2019

Susan Askew
Susan Askew

Air and Sea Show Will Return in 2019:

Commission authorizes contract negotiations

Following a successful first year in 2017 and a weather abbreviated show that had some fits and starts with contract negotiations and permitting this year, the City Commission this week indicated its desire to have the National Salute to America’s Heroes Air and Sea Show return to Miami Beach next year.
As we reported this spring, the show’s promoter said the delay in getting a contract signed for a City-sponsored concert impacted his ability to present site plans and other items needed for special event permitting which caused tension and concerns about its viability. This week, Commissioners gave the greenlight for contract negotiations to begin now for next year’s show. Presumably, by starting earlier, the process will be smoother. 

This year, the City committed $350,000 to cover City services and waived fees of $150,000 for the Air and Sea Show. The Commission also committed up to $250,000 in reimbursable expenses for the concert which was ultimately rained out but bills still had to be paid. Assistant City Manager Kathie Brooks told Commissioners this week, that receipts had been verified for $208,000 with other expenses pending documentation.
Commissioner John Alemán, Commission sponsor for the Air and Sea Show, said, “I believe that we should make the Air and Sea Show an annual ongoing concern for the City of Miami Beach and support it fully.”
She said the City does not need the Air and Sea Show to fill hotel rooms, that would happen anyway on Memorial Day Weekend. “But this is a chance to put Miami Beach on the national stage through the media exposure that we get and… demonstrate through our leadership a commitment to our military.” 
“In terms of the concert, I think we should have a concert,” she said, though not one sponsored by the City in the future. “The $250,000 was incubation money.  We never intended for that to be an ongoing contribution. It was just to help get the thing off the ground in the first year.” She proposed continuing the $350,000 in services plus the $150,000 in waived fees but not the $250,000 for the concert. “I think the producer is prepared to execute the full contract without that financial support going forward,” she said.
Commissioner Ricky Arriola who chaired the Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Memorial Day Weeked which sought to create programming to embrace the African American tourists who come to town that weekend, said,  “I’ve supported it every time it’s come up, with a qualification.  For the past twenty-some years, Memorial Day Weekend has been a weekend in which our African American tourist market comes to Miami Beach by the hundreds of thousands and I want to make very clear that we are not trying to do this in order to push those guests out of Miami Beach. Under no circumstances is that the case and I will not support anything to try to do that. Quite the opposite. What I spent the past year doing is trying to work with the African American community in trying to program [the weekend] because for the first time this year, the City actually embraced the weekend and I was very proud that we did that. But for 20 years we’ve largely remained silent and so my support for the Air and Sea Show, I ask my colleagues, I want the same support and financial commitment to addressing the hundred thousands of African American guests we have that weekend so we can do some programming that is also mindful of those guests that come for the weekend.”
Mayor Dan Gelber said, “I view this as sort of two approaches simultaneously working together. In fact, I’d like to see a little bit more synergy” between the Air and Sea Show and Arriola’s efforts “because there is a natural synergy.”
“The main reason I supported the Air and Sea Show on Memorial Day Weekend,”Arriola added, “is because our military was really the first major institution in the United States to fully integrate and I couldn’t be more proud of that. And I think as an acknowledgement of what’s happening that particular weekend here on Miami Beach and who we are as a city, a city of tolerance and being at the forefront of civil issues, civic issues, combining with what the military does and stands for and with what we’re trying to do for Memorial Day Weekend is appropriate and I just want to make sure we’re always trying to deliver that message.”
Gelber added, “There’s a lot that can be done to integrate these efforts that could be really special.” He said it could become “a branded weekend for us, not only regionally but nationally… that would be an audacious but I think good goal.”


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