Make us your home page
Instagram

Fantasy of Flight closing to public next month

AUBURNDALE — Troubled by waning attendance and image problems, Fantasy of Flight, an aviation-themed attraction boasting the world's largest private collection of vintage aircraft, closes to the public April 6.

Kermit Weeks, the charismatic former aerobatics champion and aircraft designer who built Fantasy of Flight in part to house his collection, said he gave the somber news Tuesday morning to staff inside the attraction and airfield just off Interstate 4 near Polk City.

"I turned 60 last year and the clock is ticking; it's time to move on," Weeks said. "So the bottom line is, instead of focusing on a business that quite honestly is not sustainable, I can focus my energy and resources toward a dream that will sustain.

"I have great employees, a great product, but people think we're (little more than) a dusty old airplane museum."

Weeks said he failed to change that misperception over the 18 years Fantasy of Flight has operated, despite adding elements such as aerial demonstrations of rare, vintage aircraft, tram tours that give visitors a glimpse of restoration efforts and a zip line.

Over the next few years, Weeks said, he'll continue to build on his private event business while working on plans to create a new destination attraction.

"I'm going to get some of the best minds in the design business," he said. "We're going to look like the big boys up the street," meaning major theme parks, "but with a completely different product."

Fantasy of Flight closing to public next month 03/04/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 4, 2014 8:58pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Shares in Tampa's Health Insurance Innovations rebound from stronger earnings report

    Corporate

    TAMPA — After a sharp drop in its stock price in August and September, Health Insurance Innovations on Monday announced strong revenue and net income gains in preliminary numbers for its third quarter of the year. The company also announced a $50 million stock buyback over the next two years meant to bolster its …

    After losing more than half its market value between August and September, shares in Tampa's Health Insurance Innovations are rebounding."The new share repurchase program underscores our confidence in our business strategy, financial performance, and the long-term prospects of our company while also allowing us the financial flexibility to continue to invest in our business," company CEO Gavin Southwell announced Monday. [Courtesy of LinkedIn]
  2. Trigaux: Campaign aims to leverage tourism ads to recruit millennials, businesses

    Economic Development

    TAMPA — Tampa Bay's unleashing one of its best weapons — a cadre of successful entrepreneurs and young business leaders — in a marketing campaign already under way but officially …

    Erin Meagher, founder of Tampa coconut oil products company Beneficial Blends, is part of a group of business savvy millennial entrepreneurs and managers who are helping to pitch the work-live-play merits of the Tampa Bay market in a new marketing campaign called Make It Tampa Bay. The campaign is backed by Visit Tampa Bay and the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp. and aimed at recruiting more millennial talent to relocate and stay in the Tampa Bay area. [Courtesy Tampa Hillsborough EDC, Visit Tampa Bay]
  3. Florida gas prices drop 25 cents on average over past month

    Autos

    Gas prices are on a downward tear post-hurricane. Tampa Bay fell to $2.34 per gallon on Sunday, down 10 cents over the week, according to AAA, The Auto Club Group. Across the state, gas fell 7 cents over the same period to average $2.47 per gallon.

    Gas prices across the state fell 25 cents over 31 days. | [Times file photo]
  4. Entrepreneur expands interests with Twisted Crafts

    Business

    SOUTH TAMPA — Playgrounds of Tampa owner Mike Addabbo is expanding into the do-it-yourself industry with his new endeavor: Twisted Crafts.

     Jennifer and Michael Addabbo pose in their latest entrepreneurial enterprise: Twisted Crafts. Photo courtesy of Twisted Craft.
  5. Amazing Lash franchise expands to South Tampa

    Business

    SOUTH TAMPA — Jeff Tolrud opened the doors to his third Amazing Lash Studio franchise earlier this month, this time in South Tampa.

    When customers walk in, the studios have the same look and feel throughout the country, operator Jeff Tolrud said of Amazing Lash Studio. Tolrud opened his third in Hillsborough County earlier this month. Photo courtesy of Amazing Lash.