The Sun ‘n Fun Fly-In, the second-largest fly-in airshow in the country, has cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, the organization posted on its website just minutes ago. The announcement was made in a YouTube video posted by a Sun ‘n Fun president, John “Lites” Leenhouts.
In his written announcement Leenhouts said, “Unfortunately supporting these initiatives will mean that the 2020 SUN ‘n FUN Aerospace Expo will be unable to proceed as originally planned. Regardless of the financial impact, for the safety of all, we will move our 46th event to join with the 47th in April of 2021.”
After the cancellation, exhibitors and attendees are certain to have questions about the event’s refund policy, given the cancelation, and we will fill you in on all those details as soon as they’re available to us.
The decisions, first to postpone and today to cancel, were difficult for the organizers to reach, in part because of the community’s passion for the event and in part because of the financial hit it will take. In his announcement, Leenhouts wrote, “The annual SUN ‘n FUN Aerospace Expo provides over $2 million annually for STEM education programs, flight training and aerospace-related college scholarships, and hands-on learning facilities. Based on the SUN ‘n FUN Expo Campus, this year-round institution reaches over 50,000 students annually, and provides free resources for educators to assist them in delivering high-quality STEM learning material.” He said that Sun ‘n Fun was working to replicate the experience as much as possible trough a revamped website.
The show, originally slated to begin yesterday, had been postponed until May 5th pending approval by government entities, including the City Of Lakeland, where Sun ‘n Fun takes place, but the decision by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis today to issue a stay at home order for the entire month of April likely made the cancelation call if not an easy one than at least a necessary one.
Stay tuned to Plane & Pilot for more details as they become available.