For everyone who dreamt of growing up to be a pilot, you won’t want to miss the summer World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
Two hours north of Madison, Oshkosh sits on the shore of Lake Winnebago and is home to the EAA AirVenture’s famous annual air show. With over 10,000 different aircrafts making an appearance, the summer aerobatics are a must-see for any airplane enthusiast.
EAA AirVenture’s Annual Oshkosh Air Show: A Week’s Worth of Airplanes
In 2011, the festivities begin on Monday, July 25, with the opening of the EAA AirVenture Air Show and a concert by REO Speedwagon. On Tuesday, it’s tribute day to Bob Hoover, on Wednesday the navy struts its stuff for Navy Day, and on Thursday there is a tribute air show to Burt Rutan.
Founder of Virgin Galactic, Burt Rutan was instrumental in the development of Virgin America’s “Fly to the Future” program — a service that is on track to become the world’s first commercial spaceline.
In 2004, Rutan won the prestigious Ansari X award for privately developed manned space craft. This new space vehicle, now owned by Virgin Galactic, will be able to cary six customers on a sub-orbital space flight. Though these space trips will not complete an orbit around the earth, the flight will offer guests a chance to experience “out-of-the-seat” zero gravity. Flights will also provide awe-inspiring views of the Earth set against the iconic black backdrop that is the final frontier.
Working as fast as they can to make the “Fly to the Future” program operational, Virgin Galactic and Rutan are to be truly congratulated for their giant leaps for mankind. The EAA’s tribute to Rutan is sure to be impressive: A must-see for any space aficionado.
Friday is usually the air show’s salute to veterans, a show complete with a competition for the year’s best electronic air craft. Entries are sure to be innovative as each aircraft fights to win the grand prize of $60,000. Gary Sinise and the Lt. Band will also be preforming Friday evening, a great way to close the night.
On Saturday, the competition for the best electronic aircraft continues, along with the annual EEA Runway 5K race. Everyone is welcome to participate in this 3.1-mile run or walk around the parameter of the fair grounds. There is a fee for entering, but discounts are offered if you have already been admitted to the fair. Da BLOOZ Bros. will also be playing Saturday, along with country star Aaron Tippin and the “Red, White, and Loud Tour.”
Each year on Saturday is the real highlight the Night Air Show featuring fireworks. The Night Air Show also includes precision aerobatics executed by some of the world’s most experienced air show performers. It’s worth keeping the kids up a bit late (the show begins at 8:30pm) to see airplanes tracing colorful patterns across the sky.
Just don’t stay out too late: Sunday is family day at the fairgrounds, so you’ll want to wake up bright and early.
To close the festivities, Sunday’s events include an air show and the organized departure of military aircraft.
Fly with the Family in an Antique Airplane at the EAA AirVenture Museum
Along with the music and air shows, families with flight enthusiasts will definitely want to check out the EAA AirVenture Museum. Home to a collection of more than 250 antique airplanes and 20,000 historic aviation objects, the EAA’s museum has interactive exhibits for the kids, as well as a model aircraft exhibit.
It’s easy to walk around on your own, but guided tours are offered for groups larger than ten. Each tour lasts one to one and a half hours. When booking a guided tour, please not that three weeks advanced notice is required.
Museum visitors are also invited to check out the Pioneer Airport, the EAA’s “living history” airstrip crafted after airports of the 1920s and 1930s. Here, over 50 vintage aircraft are housed and open for viewing from May to October. Watch one of the EAA’s antique air shows, or take a ride in one of four antique plains and helicopters. Prices are reasonable, and children’s rates are offered.
Even better, however, is the Young Eagles program offered through the EAA. Devoted to introducing kids ages 8 to 17 to the world of aviation, the Young Eagles program offers a eligible kids free introductory flying lesson at Pioneer Airport. Rides are subject to availability and weather conditions, so be sure to call ahead.
So, why visit the EAA AirVenture Museum and Pioneer Airport during World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration? Because admission to both museums is free after you’ve paid for admission to the fair. So go on, check it out, and take a ride on an airplane. The view from above is sure not to disappoint.
OshKosh B’gosh: Last Minute Shopping with the Kids
If you thought Oshkosh sounded familiar, you were right. Oshkosh, Wisconsin, is the hometown of OshKosh B’gosh, a children’s apparel company known for its classic denim overalls for kids. While you’re in town, why not check out the OshKosh B’gosh outlet store: Only 10 minutes away from the EAA AirVenture Museum, it’s definitely an easy shopping trip.
Planning Your Trip: Local Oshkosh Hotels
Visiting for a weekend? Oshkosh has many well known hotel chains that offer comfortable and affordable family rooms. Or, for a more elegant experience, try the Brayton Bed and Breakfast.
Located one block away from the Historic Downtown district in Oshkosh, the Brayton Bed and Breakfast originally opened its doors as a men’s boarding house in the early 1900s. Before that, it was home to local lumberman John Rich in 1876.
Now, the hotel offers four reasonably priced, uniquely furnished rooms each ornately decorated in a manner befitting the Creme City Brick Italianate building. Modern conveniences, however, have not been forgotten: All rooms in the Brayton Bed and Breakfast come with central air, flatscreen TVs, wireless internet, fluffy robes, and warm slippers.
Breakfast at Brayton’s is complimentary and served in the family dining room at the time of your choosing. Menus differ, depending on what the chef is inspired to create; but home-cooked sweet and savory dishes can always be expected.
Another dining perk: The Brayton Bed and Breakfast will have desert waiting for you after you return from dinner. And if you are staying on a Friday or Saturday evening, the Brayton Bed and Breakfast hosts a wine and cheese social for guests.
The Brayton Bed and Breakfast also offers seasonal guest packages, including the Pontoon Rental Package in which guests can book a captained or uncaptained pontoon boat to tour the Fox River and Lake Winnebago.
Photos Courtesy of airventure.org.
This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question, and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.