Celebrate the Holiday Season at the SUN ‘n FUN Holiday Fly-In Festival and Car Show

Sun n Fun Holiday Fly In Lakeland FL

Kick off the holiday season with outdoor fun at a BRAND NEW event that started last year in 2020 – the SUN ‘n FUN Holiday Flying Festival and Car Show.

This new experience at the SUN ‘n FUN Expo Campus is an opportunity to spend the day outside and enjoy airplane displays, a car show, airplane rides, exhibitors, food vendors, aerial demonstrations, hot air balloons, kids’ activities, monster truck rides, BMX TrickStars, and more. SANTA even has special clearance to fly in on Saturday!

Many attraction closures and event postponements have been announced beginning September 27 due to Hurricane Ian. We are editing our calendar and articles if we receive notice of event changes, but please be sure to check directly with organizers to confirm any events or activities from September 27 - October 2. A link is provided at the bottom of every event on our calendar and in all articles.

Read on to find out what type of activities you and your family can enjoy at this two day festival in Lakeland, Florida.

Activities at the SUN ‘n FUN Holiday Fly-In Festival

Santa is Flying In – Saturday

Santa has been cleared for landing! Santa Claus will fly in at noon on Saturday, December 4 to say hello and collect his mail from all the boys and girls at the show. Be sure to be there for this super special meet and greet with the Jolly Old Elf himself! Santa will arrive at SUN ‘n FUN’s special North Pole right on the Compass Rose in the middle of the event. 

Aerial Demonstrations – Friday and Saturday

Planes will be taking off and landing throughout the event, including the STOL’s AVIAT AIRCRAFT Central Florida Classic Short Takeoff and Landing Competition. You can also see stunning aircraft performances at aerial demonstrations both days.

Balloon GlowFriday Evening

Friday night you can watch the balloons as they inflate against the setting sun and then glow during the evening aerial demonstrations.


North Pole” Kids Area

There will be a “North Pole” area with lots of family activities including ornament decorating, letters to Santa, raffles, giveaways, visits with Mrs. Claus and more.


Airplane Displays – Friday and Saturday

From Warbirds to Vintage, Homebuilt to Light Sport, even aerobatic planes, the Holiday Fly-In is a great place to see dozens of aircraft on display.

Car Show – Saturday

On Saturday you can check out a variety of classic, exotic, and vintage cars at the Car and Truck Show.

SUN n FUN Car Show

Scale Model Aerospace and Aviation Themed Gingerbread Competition

K-12 students, families, collegiate, and professionals are encouraged to build a scale model gingerbread replica of an architecturally significant building or aerospace/aviation object of their choosing, structures are to be aerospace and aviation-themed. Advance registration is required, it is free to register and submit an entry.

Vendors, Exhibits + Displays

In addition to the activities and exhibits listed above, you can also find first responder displays, food vendors, exhibitors and more located throughout the event. A full schedule and list of activities can be found at flysnf.org.

RV and Tent Camping

Make it a night your kids will remember – go camping at SUN ‘n FUN! Campsites are available for RV’s with full hookups, primitive/tent camping sites, or you can camp with your airplane. Campers will also enjoy a Campground Movie Night on Friday at 7pm. Plus you’ll already be on site when the gates open on Saturday.

More Details – SUN ‘n FUN Holiday Flying Festival


Daily Admission is $12 for adults if purchased in advance, and $15 at the gate. This event is FREE for children 12 and Under. Parking is free.

Hours + Event Schedule

Friday, December 3 – Event gates open at 8am. Exhibits and displays begin at 12pm. Campground Christmas Movie night begins at 7pm.
Saturday, December 4 – Event gates open from 7am – 5pm.
See the full schedule at flysnf.org

What to Bring + Other Helpful Tips

  • Wear comfy clothes and walking shoes – you will be outside walking on dirt, grass, and concrete.
  • Stroller – the planes and exhibits cover a very large area. If you wouldn’t go to a theme park without a stroller, don’t go to SUN ‘n FUN without one either!
  • Backpack – backpacks are allowed but are subject to inspection. {Backpacks are always the best way to carry gear when you need your hands free to keep track of the kiddos}
  • Chairs, blankets, etc. – if you want to sit down and watch the aerial demonstrations, you might like to have a blanket or chairs instead of sitting on the ground.
  • Earplugs or noise-canceling headphones if you have little ones with ears that need protecting – some of the planes get LOUD!

What to Leave at Home

Coolers, outside food and beverage, camelbacks, weapons of any kind, tent structures, self-standing umbrellas, bicycles, hoverboards, skates, strap on skate shoes, golf carts, skateboards, kids scooters, are all prohibited. Pets are not allowed at the event with the exception of registered service animals.

Learn more – Flying Festival FAQ’s.

Directions & Parking

Parking for SUN ‘n FUN is located off W. Pipkin Road. Use 4175 Medulla Rd, Lakeland, FL 33811 (MAP IT) to get directions to the general area, and then follow signage or directions by traffic control officers.

READER TIP: Be sure you make a note or photo where you parked your car. Will make it much easier to remember when you’re staring at rows and rows of parked cars!

Support the Mission of the Aerospace Center for Excellence

The mission of the Aerospace Center for Excellence (ACE) is to “Engage, Educate, and Accelerate the Next Generation of Aerospace Professionals. The SUN ‘n FUN Aerospace Expo and dozens of other events year-round produce the majority of the revenue that goes into supporting this mission. By attending their events, you are helping deliver top-quality, industry-leading STEM education and scholarship programs to thousands of young men and women each year. Donations are gratefully accepted, and all proceeds will benefit the Aerospace Center for Excellence (ACE) STEM education programs. You can learn more about the mission on the ACE website – www.ACEedu.aero.

Christmas Events + Holiday Activities

Check out our Ultimate Guide to Christmas Events + Holiday Activities to find more things to do including Neighborhood Christmas Light Displays, FREE Christmas Events, Santa Photos, Christmas Parades, and more.