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Sun 'n Fun attendance downSun 'n Fun attendance down

Sun ’n Fun President John Burton said April 26 that attendance dropped 10 percent this year from last year’s record high, but he was “extremely pleased” that the six-day airshow wasn’t marred by accidents, and that consumers appeared to be buying despite the sour economy.

“The mood coming in was, perhaps, trepidation,” Burton said. “There were a lot of eyes on Lakeland.”

Sun ’n Fun is the first major fly-in of 2009, and given the uncertain economy, industry officials feared a sharp drop in attendance and commerce. But 500 vendors took part in the event (down from 522 last year), and anecdotal evidence suggests they were spending freely.

“The people who are here are buying,” Burton said. “Our exhibitors have been very pleased, for the most part.”

Sunny weather and a lack of flying mishaps also contributed to what Burton called a “highly successful week.”

“We’re all relieved we made it through this week safely and successfully,” Burton said. “We’re absolutely pleased.”

Dave Hirschman

Dave Hirschman

AOPA Pilot Editor at Large
AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Dave Hirschman joined AOPA in 2008. He has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates. Dave flies vintage, historical, and Experimental airplanes and specializes in tailwheel and aerobatic instruction.

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