Lakeland’s annual Sun n’ Fun Fly-In hosted by the City of Lakeland and the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport for the past 35 years is widely termed the Spring Break for Pilots here in the US and across the globe. What I like most about the event is that it brings together aviation pros from all over the world, and from all facets of the aviation community to enjoy what is considered to be the best fly-in experience ever.
Each year, Sun n’ Fun provides a huge economic boost to Lakeland’s economy by bringing in an average of 160,000 visitors from around the country. According to the official Sun n’ Fun website, as recently as 2008, the event attracted some 1,300 international visitors as well – coming to Lakeland from as many as 73 countries, including first-time visitors from Tanzania, Botswana, Oman and Singapore!
All told, the fly-in brings about $27 million to Lakeland each year. So, you can see why it plays a very important role in the success of our local community.
From Vintage to Experimental – Sun n’ Fun Covers it All
Each year, pilots participating in the fly-in consist of owners who fly their aircraft to the event from all parts of the United States and Canada. Many pilots fly their personal vintage, home-built planes or restored ex-military aircraft.
One very special lady, Experimental aircraft pilot Arty Trost, flew an open-cockpit 55-mph Maxair Drifter (Ultralight Style aircraft) from Oregon to Florida for the Sun n’ Fun airshow.
This past year, the event involved the following:
- A host of WWII-era aircraft
- The U.S. Army Golden Parachute Team- this will be their first appearance at Sun ‘n Fun
- Rocket Racing demonstrations
- A Friday night air show
- A Saturday afternoon hot air balloon launch
- Earth Day activities all week long in honor of the April 22 holiday
If you’re planning to purchase a piece of Lakeland real estate, you have to admit that having the Sun n’ Fun close by is a major benefit!