LAKELAND, Fla. — The final American air show of the year will host performances by the Air Force’s F-35A and F-16C jets this week during the Sun ‘n Fun Holiday Flying Festival and Car Show.
Lakeland Regional Airport will host the holiday festival air show on December 4 and 5. Dozens of vintage planes, warbirds, and modern aircraft will also be on static display.
An evening air show will begin at 4:30 p.m. EST, on Friday, with a second show scheduled for Saturday at 2:30 p.m. A hot air balloon launch is also planned for Saturday morning at 8:00 a.m.
Top Performers to Highlight Last Airshow of 2020
Based at Hill Air Force Base in Utah, the F-35A Lightning II demonstration team will perform both days. Sun n’ Fun will mark the team’s 12th air show site during a season cut short by Covid-19 concerns.
“We had a great 2020 show season and have got a few ideas on how to make 2021 even better,” Capt. Kristin “Beo” Wolfe stated to AvGeekery.com on Tuesday. Wolfe is concluding her first season with the demo team and will return next season.
The F-16C Viper demonstration Team will also conclude their season over Lakeland. Viper commander Maj. Garett “Toro” Schmitz will pilot the jet aircraft to highlight its characteristic high speed maneuvers and climbs.
The World Famous GEICO Skytypers is also scheduled to attend the Sun n’ Fun Holiday air show. Officials note the squadron of World War II-era aircraft is scheduled to perform a few random flights and not their usual demonstration.
“We are very pleased to be able to attend and see our fans here in Florida,” GEICO Skytypers lead pilot Larry Arken expressed.
The U.S. Army Special Operations Command Parachute Demonstration Team is scheduled to open each show. Known as the Black Daggers, the team will display the American flag during a jump as the National Anthem is played.
Former Air Force F-15C Eagle pilot Jerry “Jive” Kerby will pilot his RV-8A known as Wild Blue on Friday. Jive’s fourth show of the year will be dedicated to America’s first responders.
“Being able to fly Wild Blue’s night show is especially significant this weekend for Sun ‘n Fun’s Holiday event,” Jive Kerby told AvGeekery. “It gives our Wild Blue Rodeo team a chance to say thank you to our local first responders who never stop working to care for our community.”
The Sun ‘n Fun Holiday Flying Festival and Car Show is free to the public. Tickets for parking are $20.00 and can be purchased online or at the Lakeland gate when you arrive.
(Charles A Atkeison reports on aerospace and technology. Follow his updates via social media @Military_Flight.)