POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Amid warnings to avoid large crowds, an upcoming and beloved event in Polk County is set to attracted hundreds of thousands of people to Lakeland.
“The impact of not holding this expo would be devastating,” said Greg Gibson, chief marketing officer and air show director for Sun ‘n Fun.
The annual aerospace expo is a celebration of all things aerospace and aviation. It’s also the principal fundraiser for the Aerospace Center for Excellence, a 14-building center that provides educational programs to aspiring pilots and aerospace enthusiasts at no cost to them.
“This event draws people from all over and certainly it is an international event. That said, 65 to 70% are within the southeast region,” said Gibson.
With the novel coronavirus spreading and organizers making tough decisions about events, Gibson said the show will go on at Sun ‘n Fun.
“If the government were to step in and mandate in some form or fashion, leave us no choice, then we would probably have to bow to that. But short of that, we do not plan to cancel the event,” said Gibson. “Coronavirus is obviously a very big concern of ours and we’re taking extreme measures to make certain we sanitize.”
Gibson said his team is increasing handwashing stations, increasing the frequency in which things are wiped clean and making sure that sanitation companies are prepared for the extra workload.
“Even aircraft that are gonna be on display, those that are gonna be walked through are going to have a wipe down,” said Gibson.
Gibson said last year, the event attracted up to 250,000 people to Polk County.
He advises if anyone is sick or uncomfortable visiting, they can watch events online.
The expo is scheduled for March 31 – April 5.
LATEST ON THE CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK:
- Worldwide death toll from coronavirus eclipses 1 million
- CDC issues guidelines for celebrating Thanksgiving during COVID-19 pandemic
- COVID-19 model researchers concerned about Florida’s reopening
- Busch Gardens cheetahs cheer on Lightning with ‘Stanley Cup’ treat
- Love coffee? Tampa ranked as one of the top cities for coffee drinkers