Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Events

Need a little lift? Try weekend Festival of Flight in Lutz

WESLEY CHAPEL

Fans of aviation will be on cloud nine this weekend at the inaugural Festival of Flight at Tampa North Aero Park.

The free two-day festival pays homage to all things aviation, from kites, bubbles and hot air balloons to World War II aircraft and high-tech planes, along with vendors, a food truck, live music and entertainment.

It's hosted by hot air balloon company American Balloons and the airport's flight training wing, Tampa North Flight Center.

The event kicks off at 7 a.m. Saturday with a hot air balloon launch, followed by a jam-packed day of aircraft demonstrations and activities. Though the event is free to attend, patrons can pay to take a ride in a hot air balloon or try their hand at piloting an airplane. The day concludes with a runway full of hot air balloons, burners lit to illuminate the night sky, described by flight instructor Chuck Norris as the centerpiece of the event.

The fun continues at 7 a.m. Sunday with a hot air balloon launch and plane fly-in, followed by more music, planes and vendors, with the festival closing at noon.

The idea for the Festival of Flight arose after some renovations at the almost 40-year-old airport. The office building was overhauled, and the Happy Hangar Cafe was added.

The runway-side restaurant has a menu of all-day breakfast items and American classics like wings, hamburgers, salads and sandwiches. The 48-seat cafe is a small, clean space, the green-blue walls adorned with framed posters and paintings of airplanes. Several large windows allow patrons an up-close view of planes taking off and landing. Picnic benches on the deck get diners even closer to the action.

The folks at the airport were looking to host a grand opening for the Happy Hangar Cafe, while Jessica Warren, owner of American Balloons, was in search of a new local festival. The ideas merged, and the Festival of Flight was born.

One of the goals of the festival is to invite the community to be frequent guests at the airport.

"It's a very friendly place to be and a place you can just come and hang out," Warren said. "You don't have to have anything to do with planes. You can just sit here and watch them take off all day."

The 72-hangar airpark covers nearly 21 acres and is flanked on three sides by neighborhoods. Since the Happy Hangar Cafe opened about a month ago, Norris says that many of their neighbors have started visiting.

"I think it's one of the best things that's ever happened to the airport," Norris said, noting his 20-year tenure at the airpark.

Norris said that fewer people are becoming pilots these days, and he hopes that welcoming the public to the airport will get people excited about aviation.

"You can hardly see an airplane at some airports. It's out of sight, out of mind, and that's going to keep people out of aviation," he said. "If you can't see them, how can you fall in love with them?"

Samantha Fuchs can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 869-6235.

Comments
Like

Like "a beer after a hockey fight," Canada Day hopes to promote friendship between fighting nations

TAMPA — As a Toronto native living in Tampa Palms, Bryan Grimsdale is not at all comfortable with the way political tensions are rising between Canada and the United States."I am a Canadian citizen, but a resident alien. This is my home, but that is ...
Published: 06/19/18
St. Pete Pride calendar: Parties, art exhibits, the big parade and more events for Pride week

St. Pete Pride calendar: Parties, art exhibits, the big parade and more events for Pride week

Pride EventsInterfaith Pride WorshipImam Daaylee Abdullah, of the Mecca Institute in Washington DC, serves as guest speaker. Free. First Presbyterian Church St. Petersburg, 701 Beach Drive NE, St. Petersburg. (727) 822-2031. 7 p.m. Thursday.Open Mic ...
Published: 06/19/18
Pride on Edge club pops up for St. Pete Pride

Pride on Edge club pops up for St. Pete Pride

While the Grand Central District is St. Petersburg’s de facto epicenter for post-parade Pride celebrations, the neighboring EDGE District will play host to the city’s first pop-up gay club event.Event promoters Uniqorn and I Love the Burg St. Pete ha...
Published: 06/19/18
Your guide to St. Pete Pride: What's changed for 2018

Your guide to St. Pete Pride: What's changed for 2018

Pride weekend kicks off in St. Petersburg Friday with a free concert hosted by a RuPaul’s Drag Race star, a parade along the downtown waterfront on Saturday and an expanded expo of vendors and art on Sunday in the Grand Central District that ga...
Published: 06/19/18
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for June 20

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for June 20

AMC Summer Movie Camp: The Lego Batman Movie: The summer screening includes a KidsPack of popcorn and snacks. Also taking place at Palm Harbor 10 in Palm Harbor and Regency 20 in Brandon. 10 a.m., Centro Ybor 10, 1600 E Seventh Ave., Tampa. $4. (813)...
Published: 06/19/18
RuPaul’s Drag Race star Coco Montrese on St. Pete Pride, the Pulse shooting and compassion from police

RuPaul’s Drag Race star Coco Montrese on St. Pete Pride, the Pulse shooting and compassion from police

Coco Montrese is best known as the RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 5 lip-sync queen who came back a record four times to win with fierce performances. But longtime Tampa Bay drag performer Kori Stevens just calls Coco a "hometown girl." As head of e...
Published: 06/19/18
Jobsite’s ‘Dancing at Lughnasa’ should be more gripping than it is

Jobsite’s ‘Dancing at Lughnasa’ should be more gripping than it is

TAMPA — The virtues of Dancing at Lughnasa, with which Jobsite Theater closes its season, are many. This drama by the celebrated Brian Friel opened in 1990 to much acclaim. It captures a family’s joys and sadnesses, and the quickness with which one s...
Published: 06/19/18
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for June 19

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for June 19

James After 5: The museum is open from 5 to 8 p.m. every Tuesday, featuring $5 admission. Tonight, former Tampa Bay Times movie critic Steve Persall will introduce a screening of Stagecoach (1939). 5 p.m., James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art, 15...
Published: 06/18/18

Celebrate summer with these family friendly events

TIMES STAFFThose looking to get out this weekend might want to check out a couple of family-friendly events in east Pasco. • It’s old fashioned summer fun as Color Me Abstract hosts their second Family Field Day Saturday at Florida Pioneer Museum in...
Published: 06/18/18

Things to Do in Pasco and Hernando counties starting June 22

Art eventsUn-Common-Ly-Artsy: The event, which features a collection of fine artists, crafters and makers, will be 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 23 at the Uptown Art Gallery at Brooksville City Hall, 201 Howell Ave., Brooksville. Food trucks will be on site...
Published: 06/18/18