A rural middle-America town is transformed each year from small and sleepy to an #AvGeek mecca. That small town is Oshkosh, Wisconsin, the home of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA). Each year the EAA holds their annual ’œfly-in’ called AirVenture. But it is much more than just a fly-in; it’s a festival of flight.
The EAA started the ’œfly-in’ back in 1953, in Milwaukee. Soon afterwards, it outgrew that airport, and the show moved on to Rockford, Illinois. In 1969, the EAA had grown too large for Rockford and needed to find a new home. They settled upon Oshkosh and, although they started with no facilities, the all-volunteer force that the EAA has been famous for was able to get the site ready for the first show at its new home in time for the 1970 edition. The show has remained in Oshkosh to this day, and celebrated its 60th anniversary this year.
Most people refer to AirVenture as an ’œair show,’ and while there is a flying program each day, the show is so much more. The show feels like a small city and the attendance figures match that. In 2013, there were approximately 500,000 people in attendance over the duration of the show, along with over 10,000 aircraft. A phenomenal amount of people when you think about it, all crammed into the footprint of a regional airport.