Sat, Apr 12, 2014
Officials Say Attendance Was Highest In Years
Well.... we've heard some pretty heavy duty SnF attendance claims before... and back then, they were B.S... But maybe this time, it will be different. The official word from Sun 'n Fun is that the 40th International Fly-in and Expo that wrapped up in Lakeland, Florida, on April 6 saw one of the largest turnouts in years thanks to perfect weather, improved operations, 3,000 dedicated volunteers, and popular attractions including the Navy's Blue Angels Naval flight demonstration team that performed Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Estimates that attendance increased about 20 percent - to about 220,000 overall - were in line with what EAA experienced in its members' Welcome Center, according to Eric Cernjar, membership marketing manager. "Both our membership and merchandise figures were up by about the same amount, and the vibe overall from members was largely positive," he said. Steady traffic in the Welcome Center and the often-filled VIP tent near the flightline gave EAA staff plenty of opportunities to talk to many members, Cernjar added.
"People had questions about the third class medical and ATC in Oshkosh, but mostly people were happy with their membership and proud to be a part of EAA," he said.
Lakeland Linder Regional Airport recorded more than 8,000 takeoffs and landings, not counting the several hundred per day in the improved ultralight/light plane area Paradise City. Everything from trikes a STOL Highlander flew regularly with the ideal weather.
Plans for 2015, which is tentatively scheduled for April 21 to 26, will include ramp and camping improvements, Sun 'n Fun President John "Lites" Leenhouts (pictured) told the Lakeland Ledger.
We're not sure how they arrived at their attendance figures... and while the early week's attendance was poor and the majority of surveyed vendors were NOT happy, attendance did seem to pick demonstrably with the arrival of the Blue Angels -- but we're not sure that constitutes the kind of numbers SnF is claiming. More info to follow...
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