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A look at Lakeland’s annual Sun ‘n Fun event

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By Jane Dunkelberger

The 38th Annual Sun ‘n Fun expo took place last week at the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport. The annual event is sort of like a spring break festival and air show for pilots and airplane enthousists.

There were many food choices, from old fashioned ice cream to hot Wisconsin cheese. Guests could also tour the many souvenirs and novelty shops for hats, T-shirts and chairs.

Aviation Kid Zone was newly added this year. The area included bounce houses, a zip-line and a rock wall. Youth workshops and activities took place daily from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. through the weeklong event at the New Piedmont Hangar.

A favorite family friendly exhibit was Norton’s Operation Shield Truck. This 40-foot, air-conditioned truck made a great place for kids to learn about Internet safety by going to different games stations to earn prizes. Parents were also able to participate, or stand by and watch the movie trailer of The Avengers, which was a sponsor of the truck. Norton Avenger Fans can enter for a chance to win a $10,000 sweepstakes by visiting Norton.com/truck.

The Sun ‘n Fun event would take more than a day to completely cover. Camping on-site was available and would make any Aviator’s spring break dream for the weeklong festivities. A movie is played at nightly at 9:30 p.m., accompanied by concerts and fireworks. Click Here to see a biplane doing stunts during the festival.

This year they added a free app to download to Android and Apple devices for guests to stay connected with directions, detailed parking information and scheduled events. Folding chairs and blankets are recommended, but no outdoor food was allowed. Leashed Pets are permitted only in the campgrounds.

The Florida Air Museum, which is where Sun ‘n Fun takes place, is Florida’s official aviation museum and education center. It’s open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and 12 to 4 p.m. Sunday. It’s closed on Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. It is also the home of the Howard Huges Aviation Collection, which displays a replica of the Spruce Goose. Florida’s Aviation History and Gifts of Flight are located inside the museum with various planes hanging from the ceiling. More information on educational programs, such as Aviation Summer Camp, can be viewed at sun-n-fun.org. If you missed it this year, dates for 2013 are April 9 to 14. For additional information, call 863-644-2431.

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