No longer in its adolescence, Fantasy of Flight’s Mustangs & Mustangs: Legends Havin’ Fun aircraft and automobile show celebrates its Sweet 16th birthday on Saturday, April 13. It marks a milestone year for the popular, nostalgia-based event which is already considered one of the largest single day Mustang automobile shows in Florida and the only event that showcases both the restored P-51 Mustang aircraft and Ford Mustang autos of all eras, ages and styles. The event takes place Saturday, April 13 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Fantasy of Flight.
Throughout the day, Mustang show cars will compete for first, second and third place trophies, as well as a “People's Choice” award. Meanwhile, rare, restored P-51 fighters will perform live aerial demonstrations. As well as watching the hot rods and fighter planes in action, guests also can take advantage of children’s activities, enjoy live entertainment, and snap photos with the classic cars, vintage airplanes and celebrity impersonators.
Each year, approximately 450 Ford vehicles are registered in the show. Registered participants may have their vehicle photographed with a P-51 Mustang airplane, which is a highlight of the show each year, said Terry Blakely, President of the Imperial Mustangs of Polk County, presenters of the event along with Fantasy of Flight. Other Mustang clubs from across the Southeast will be participating as well. Admission to Mustangs & Mustangs is included in general admission to Fantasy of Flight; parking is $5. The show is open to all Ford-powered vehicles and registrations are currently being accepted. A portion of the proceeds from car show registration will go to VISTE of Lakeland, Fla., an organization that provides services enabling the elderly to live independently in their own homes.
“Each year, Mustangs & Mustangs draws a loyal crowd of Mustang lovers, but this year, as we celebrate the Sweet 16th birthday of this event, we hope to share it with even more people,” said Kim Long, General Manager, Fantasy of Flight. “We welcome everyone to come out and enjoy a day of family friendly fun, marvel at these impeccably maintained cars and planes, stroll through Fantasy of Flight, check out our new Golden Hill exhibit, and test their bravado on our Wing WalkAir Ropes Course & Zip Line.”
Fantasy of Flight recently opened Phase II of its Golden Hill exhibit, more than 40,000 square feet filled with rare and vintage aircraft, aircraft parts and flight artifacts — a veritable gold mine of aviation history. This treasure trove of valuable historical nuggets is named in reference to Silver Hill, the nickname for The Paul E. Garber Preservation, Restoration, and Storage Facility of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum in Suitland, Md. Among the residents of Golden Hill Phase II are amphibious aircraft, the PBY Catalina and Grumman Duck; the carrier-based Fairey Swordfish and Grumman Hellcat; the world’s earliest jets, Gloster Meteor and DeHavilland Vampire; and many more. The new exhibit is included in admission to Fantasy of Flight.
Fantasy of Flight also hosts a number of other special events during the year, including its 2013 Legends & Legacies Symposium Series. Remaining segments include: “The First World War,” April 6; “D-Day: Normandy & Beyond,” May 3-4; “Espionage: The Cold War,” Oct. 4-5 and “Veteran’s Day Salute: A Celebration of Service,” Nov. 9-10. Symposium events are included in the price of Fantasy of Flight general admission and are free for annual pass holders.