Jordan Lamers WFRV-TV
EAA AirVenture Brings Huge Impact to Local Businesses
July 19, 2018
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  • The 65th EAA AirVenture fly-in officially starts Monday.  Thousands of pilots and airplane lovers will be at Wittman field for the week long show.

    “This is the biggest event in Oshkosh, one of the biggest events in Wisconsin,” said Justin Dejager with the Oshkosh Convention and Visitors Bureau.

    Props are turning and thousands of planes are starting to descend in Oshkosh ahead of this years AirVenture, an event that draws quite a crowd each year.

    “When you bring in about 600,000 people into a city of maybe 70,000, it can be kind of difficult but all those people bring so many benefits to our businesses,” said Dejager.

    With that many people, the streets will be packed, shops overflowing with guests, and hotels fully booked for miles.

    According to Dejager, “The regular season home games for the Packers, all 8 of them, don’t bring in as much money as what AirVenture does in just one week.”

    EAA teamed up with UW-Oshkosh to complete an economic impact study last year, and the results are were eye opening.

    “It’s $170 million each year of economic impact that comes to the 5 county region,” said Dick Knapinski, the EAA spokesman.  “Expand that throughout Wisconsin and it becomes $200 million plus.”

    Although the airspace over head may be noisy, the impact these planes have on our community is substantial.  AirVenture has been held here in Oshkosh for 49 straight years, and according to these pilots, it’s what puts this pop-up aviation city on the map.

    Knapinski said, “If you go to any airport in the world and talk to any pilot and say the word “Oshkosh,” they know exactly what you’re talking about, and that’s a piece of visibility that you just can’t buy any place else.”

    AirVenture runs at Wittman Regional Airport from Monday, July 23rd to Sunday, July 29th.