OSHKOSH, Wis. (WBAY) - Last year, EAA AirVenture Oshkosh attracted a record 590,000 people and had a $170 million impact on surrounding counties. The annual fly-in convention of the Experimental Aircraft Association turns Wittman Regional Airport into the busiest airport in the world, with almost 3,000 showplanes on the grounds.
This year's AirVenture officially runs Monday, July 23, through Sunday, July 29. Of course, a lot of people show up the weekend before.
Here are things you should know before going:
Children 5 and under get into AirVenture for free each day.
Daily tickets cost $34 for EAA members and $49 for non-members (one dollar more than last year). A full-week pass, available only to EAA members, costs $125 (two dollars more than last year). Tickets are discounted for the last day of the event, Sunday, July 29: $19 for members, $24 for non-members. A two-day pass for non-members, only available online, costs $80 and must be used on consecutive days.
Children ages 6 to 18 can receive a student discount of $22 for EAA members and $27 for non-members. The July 29 tickets for members and non-members are $10 and $13, respectively.
Admission gives you access to showplane parking; speakers, forums, vendors and hands-on workshops; air shows; the opening day concert and nightly Fly-In Theater and Theater in the Woods programming; plus entry to the AirVenture Museum (EAA Aviation Museum) and KidVenture.
People and vehicles on the EAA grounds may be searched, along with coolers, backpacks, large purses, and bags brought into AirVenture. These items will not be allowed in:
• Oversize backpacks
• Coolers larger than 12 x 18 inches
• Knives with a blade longer than 4 inches
• Alcoholic beverages, including beer, wine
• Fireworks and explosives
• Pets, except service animals
• Bicycles, skateboards, caster boards (e.g., "Razor" boards), inline skates (e.g., "Rollerblades"), roller skates, Segways and any other self-propelled transport device. Exceptions are electric/handicapped convenience vehicles and other personal mobility devices required by a person's disability and operated in a safe manner.
The recommended routes to general parking are to take Interstate 41 to exit 116 (Hwy 44/South Park Rd.) and go east about 0.2 miles. Turn right on Knapp Street Rd. -- that's not a typo -- then right on Poberezny Rd.
There's a longer route taking you around the airport but at times may be the road less traveled: Take the same I-41 exit 116 (Hwy 44/South Park Rd.) and go east about 0.5 miles. Turn right on 20th Ave. After another 1.5 miles turn right on Oregon St., then in 3 miles turn right on Fisk Ave. In another 1.8 miles, turn right on Poberezny Rd. and follow for 2 miles to parking.
The Wisconsin State Patrol has a 24-hour presence on Interstate 41 between Milwaukee and Green Bay.
Follow traffic patterns and tie-ups with WBAY's TimeSaver Traffic.
Parking in general lots is $10 daily for members and non-members. EAA members can get a week-long parking pass for $60. Parking passes can be purchased at checkout when buying tickets online or separately. These parking passes are not valid for Camp Scholler Lot S.
There are six public parking lots on the grounds. There is no overnight parking in these lots.
If you don't want to drive and park, Oshkosh's GO Transit, Kobussen and Lamers bus lines are providing shuttle service to and from the EAA Bus Park, putting you near the main gate.
At the time of this writing on July 11, GO Transit's website has the routes and prices for 2017, so consider this information tentative:
GO Transit makes stops at Gruenhagen Hall at U.W.-Oshkosh, the downtown transit center, the airport and the EAA main gate from 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily, except Sunday, July 22, when the hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday, July 29, 6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Round-trip fare is $3 (cash only) or $20 for an EAA bus pass valid July 22-July 29.
Kobussen Buses will operate shuttle service from Appleton International Airport and area hotels for a fee, no reservations needed. Call (920) 422-0604 in the Fox Cities.
Lamers is running shuttle service from various hotels between Kimberly and Neenah for $25 round trip (or $15 one way), and from three departure points in Milwaukee for $55 to $65 round trip ($30 or $35 one-way). You can pay the driver or purchase tickets online. Tickets sold online must be printed and presented to the driver along with photo ID.
Trams and buses run throughout the EAA grounds, linking people to the bus park, air traffic control tower, AirVenture Museum, campgrounds, the Warbirds area, workshops, and exhibitor areas. There's a $3 round-trip cost for shuttle between the bus park and Seaplane Base.
EAA has a free mobile app for iOS and Android that provides a map of the grounds, information about features and vendors, and a schedule of events which you can customize to know when to be and where. Check your app store for EAA AIRVENTURE OSHKOSH 2018.
EAA also provides text messages highlighting each day's features, plus weather alerts. Text OSHFUN to 69050 for up to 8 texts a day about notable attractions or OSHALERT to 69050 for necessary weather alerts. You must have a phone number from the U.S. or its territories.