EAA Air Venture just celebrated it’s 50th year in Oshkosh, and the EAA brand and their flagship week long event have become an international brand that’s put Oshkosh on the map on a level akin to Oshkosh B’gosh. We’ve been hearing a lot recently about the massive economic impact of the event on Northeast Wisconsin. We’ve been watching the online word of mouth for the event build, and we’ve learned some things about EAA Air Venture you may not have known.

1. In July, outside of Wisconsin, the word “Oshkosh” literally means, “EAA Air Venture”

The event, and it’s seemingly obscure location in our amazing, quaint city of Oshkosh, has become a nickname for the event itself. Many people from around the country and around the world who have been coming to the event for a few years Tweet things like., “Oshkosh starts today.” People in their lives know this to mean, they are headed to EAA Air Venture

There were Tweets of people quoting their dads referring to EAA Air Venture as simply “Oshkosh.” If you say “I’m headed to Oshkosh” in any state that isn’t Wisconsin, and July is near, you can assume they’re going to EAA Air Venture.

Tweets about the 2019 event from around the world.

2. It’s the most attended aviation event in the world

EAA Air Venture has consistently brought in more than 500,000 visitors over the past few years. What makes EAA so popular? The event brings together programming and excitement for all ages and all aviation stripes. Since EAA is Experimental Aircraft Association, they bring in everything from commercial aviation, to historical, drones, model airplanes, personal aircraft, and even home built air craft.

EAA 2015. Credit: Wikipedia

3. The event started as a “fly-in” in Milwaukee

Although 2019 marked 50 years of the Air Venture event which came to Oshkosh in 1969, the event was seeded in Milwaukee in 1953, and it was called “EAA fly-in”. The event even moved to Illinois before settling in Oshkosh (I know… It hurts.)

A welcome sign at EAA. Credit: EAA.org

4. The fly-in manual before landing is 30 pages

Know as a NOTAM or Notice to Airman, the manual to read before flying in to Wittman Regional Airport is 30 pages long. They are landing over 10,000 aircraft over the span of the one week event, causing the air traffic control tower to be known as the “busiest in the world”.

A feature volunteer at EAA. Credit: EAA.org

5. The event attracts aviation loving celebrities

This year, 2019, Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins was a speaker at the event. Other aviation loving celebrities such as Harrison Ford have made stops into Oshkosh for Air Venture in the past.

Harrison Ford. Credit: Celebrity Diagnosis

6. Thousands of volunteers make the event happen

In 2018, there were over 5,000 volunteers. The event regularly uses more than 4,000 volunteers to make the show happen.

The air traffic control tower at EAA. Credit: ArtifactsJournal.com

These are some interesting things we found in our research! EAA Air Venture’s 50th year was an amazing show as always. A bonus, more commonly known Air Venture fact is the economic impact of the event, over $100,000,000 in Northeast Wisconsin. What was the most surprising fact to you? Did I miss any?


  1. Meeting people from all over the world who all have a love or interest in the same thing is amazing! You hear so many languages just walking around the grounds!

    1. It really is such a cool event! I can’t imagine the conversations and friendships that have occurred due to EAA Air Venture. Thank you for your comment. Do you have EAA friends? 🙂

  2. It was “Oshkosh” l-o-n-g before the idea of an air-venture popped into someone’s brain, and for many of us “Oshkosh” (or simply “OSH”) it will remain. I was talking to a local merchant once, and we were laughing that legitimate questions include “When’s Oshkosh” amongst others.

    1. That’s so cool. Learning that through Twitter is what inspired me to make this post! Being from Appleton and being alumni at UW Oshkosh, I thought that was the coolest thing ever! Thank you for sharing.

    1. Good question. Not 100% sure. I hadn’t thought to mention the founder. I wouldn’t have had much to say since I hadn’t heard of him. Just watched a video on him because of this, and he has an interesting story. Thank you for reaching out.

      1. Evan – I realize you’re writing for a non-aviation audience, but an article addressing EAA as a phenomenon that brings people to Oshkosh and surrounds year round might fit your genre. A good number of the volunteers who are the backbone of “Oshkosh” are either frequent visitors throughout the year or come early and are here for 3-4 months. We establish relationships with local/regional business people and become friends. The museum is world class as an aviation venue, and hosts events for the community year round (hot air balloon event, visits with Santa, etc). The grounds are used for other events also, bringing other groups to your fine city (e.g. Ducks Unlimited) and providing activities for regional residents (the farm show and RV show). We have caused street names (Poberezny Road) and effected the decor of multiple restaurants, especially on Koeller/Washburn. I’m sure the city would exist without us, but it wouldn’t be the same.

      2. We’re not apposed to writing deep pieces on EAA. Our main media source is video, so when we write blogs they tend to be locked in to what our brand represents which is events, activities, food, and things to do. If you wrote us a piece as a contributor we’d be open to sharing it. It just takes a lot of work to flush those stories out. We don’t have the resources for that right now. I appreciate your passion for EAA and Oshkosh!

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