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SUN ‘n FUN is back in Lakeland

This annual festival celebrates all things aviation. Save this guide to admission, activities, and aviation fun.

Fireworks explode in the night sky over several parked fighter jets at the SUN 'n FUN Aerospace expo.

Sparks are sure to fly at the 50th anniversary expo.

Photo by Raimo Roonet

Table of Contents

Strap in and prepare for your annual dose of G-force fun. SUN ‘n FUN is back, taking place from Tuesday, April 9-Sunday, April 14 at the Expo Campus (4075 James C. Ray Dr.). Entering its 50th year, the event has grown into one of the largest aviation events ever.

Within the Sunshine State, it reigns as the largest annual convention of any kind, drawing in more than 200,000 visitors. The aviation exhibition showcases hundreds of aircraft, a trade show, 500+ exhibitors, a career fair, and airshows. It also raises funds for programs at the Aerospace Center for Excellence (ACE).

If you’re planning to attend this year’s expo, here’s what you need to know:

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B-25 Mitchell medium-range bomber, circa 1991 | Photo via Florida Memory

Tickets + entry

SUN ‘n FUN offers both daily and weekly tickets starting at $45 for the day and $170 for the duration of the event. Daily tickets for kids ages 11-17 are $20, and kids 10 and under get in free. Discounts are also available on select days after 5 p.m.

Parking at the gate is $20 per day or $80 for the week. Pro tip: Save time and money by purchasing parking online. Parking lots are located off of Pipkin Road and on Airside Center Drive.

Want to arrive in style? Pilots may fly-in to the expo. Check in at the Pilot Welcome Center after landing to collect your complimentary Fly-In Style Pilot Card for discounts throughout the expo.

Six planes fly in a line formation over a control tower at SUN 'n FUN. Each plane has a cloud of vapor trails following it.

SUN ‘n FUN brings together aviation pros and fans alike.

What to do

SUN ‘n FUN offers excitement for all members of your family + flight crew. Learn about the history and future of aviation with demonstrations, exhibitors, and displays throughout the expo — even up in the sky above the grounds.

Head to the Future ‘n Flight Plaza, a newly reimagined area that will serve as the event headquarters this year. The plaza will include an innovation showcase, career fair, community forums, and a Family Oasis for those with young children.

Speaking of children. Grab a special lanyard at the Main or East Registration points, then learn about careers and try activities for your child’s age range at Junior Aces spots around the expo. You can also drop off children ages 2-10 at the Kids Club at the Family Oasis to enjoy kid-friendly nighttime activities.

There are plenty of opportunities to see aircraft of all types. See vintage, homebuilt, and military aircraft up close in static displays, or catch a thrilling airshow. This year’s schedule includes daytime airshows throughout each day, plus nighttime shows on Wednesday, April 10 and Saturday, April 13.


Wake up early to see hot air balloon launches.

Photo by Catapult

Early birds can also catch another type of airship — hot air balloons will put on limited demonstration flights each morning around 7 a.m., depending on weather. A balloon race is also planned for Saturday, April 13 at 6:30 a.m.

Learn more about military aircraft at Victory’s Arsenal Theatre. Warbird pilots + owners will present their aircraft and teach about their history twice each day, starting on Wednesday, April 10. Veterans can also head to the Veterans Plaza for military display, reenactments, and more services.

This year, you don’t want to miss day one of the event. Country music artists Dylan Scott and Sara Evans will open the 50th anniversary expo with a concert on Tuesday, April 9 at 6 p.m. Purchase a single day general admission ticket for April 9 as your concert admission.

If you prefer taking the roads to taking flight, register for the SUN ‘n RUN 5K. This race takes off from Lakeland Linder International Airport on Saturday, April 13 at 7 a.m. Run through LAL’s runways, taxiways, and ramps as the hot air balloon launch happens at SUN ‘n FUN.


1983 “Cricket”, World’s smallest airplane, circa 1990 | Photo via Florida Memory

Photo via Florida Memory

    Pro tips + resources

    The SUN ‘n FUN is large and sure to be packed each day, so save these resources and plan ahead with these tips:

    • Download the SUN ‘n FUN mobile app to keep track of tickets, itineraries, and FAQs.
    • Bookmark the daily schedule and save the expo map.
    • You can camp out at the expo in a tent, RV, or even under your own aircraft. Campsites are available for single-night or weekly stays, starting at $35.
    • Not attending the expo this year? You should still prepare for more traffic than usual around southwest Lakeland and more visitors at your favorite spots around town as guests explore our city.

    Is there something we missed that’s bringing you to the expo this year? Maybe a pro tip everyone should know? Share it with us and be sure to tag us in your photos during the event.