OSHKOSH, Wis. (WFRV) – The world’s largest fly-in convention has been canceled this year because of the coronavirus. Organizers of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2020 say continuing uncertainty left them with no other choice.
EAA AirVenture was supposed to celebrate its 68th year this July, filling the skies above Wittman Field with 10,000 aircraft and the grounds with 640,000 people. But Dick Knapinski says the coronavirus has put an end to this year’s event.
“It is a disappointing day on a lot of different levels. But something we felt we had to do,” said Knapinski, director of communications for EAA.
In a statement, EAA Chairman Jack Pelton said “There is no way to describe the disappointment I feel for everyone. We looked at every possibility over the past six weeks as to how EAA could move forward with AirVenture this year.”
But Knapinski said moving forward carried too much risk. Like concerns over the health and safety of attendees from the virus.
“The overriding priority really when it came down to it,” Knapinski said.
And uncertainty over future policies regarding mass gatherings.
“Taking a look at the governor’s Safer at Home order, when would large public events be scheduled and be held once again? There was no certainty that late July would have an open spot,” Knapinski said.
Needing to make so many decisions now to even pull this year’s event off, Knapinski said the organization knew they had no other choice.
“We decided that we would shelve it for this year and move on to 2021. It’s extraordinarily tough, it’s something you don’t want to do. Sometimes when something is taken away from you, it makes it even more gratifying when you do get together again,” Knapinski said.
EAA says all pre-sold AirVenture 2020 admissions and camping reservations can be rolled over to the 2021 event or are eligible for a refund.