Torrential rains in the weeks preceding AirVenture’s opening day — accumulating to 10 inches of rain so far this month, a record — sent EAA officials scrambling to prepare for opening day Monday. The rain and mud led some to dub this year’s event “Sploshkosh” or “AquaVenture.”
While the grounds were soaked, sunny weather Sunday and Monday helped dry things out. The “North 40” camping area was opened Monday, with steady arrivals throughout the day. Airports throughout the state were jammed with airplane owners “waiting to get in” to Oshkosh, according to EAA spokesman Dick Knapinski.
Meanwhile, RVs and other heavy campers were parked in the parking lots of local shopping areas. “Any place with a hard surface where we can put the big rigs, we are doing so,” he said, noting the association was providing shuttles from those areas to the convention grounds.
“I have been chairman for 35 years and this has been the most challenging year yet,” said Tom Poberezny on opening day.
But while five weeks of rain created massive problems, it also highlighted the passion and dedication of EAA staff and volunteers, as well as local residents who were willing to pitch in and help get the event off the ground, EAA officials said.
“The volunteers have gone above and beyond,” Knapinski said. “Some of them are putting in 20-hour days.”
For more information: EAA.org