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Packing it up: EAA organizers reflect on successful event, look ahead to next year

Local News

OSHKOSH, Wis. (WFRV) — Monday on the EAA grounds means it’s time to pack it up.

“This is the day after,” EAA Spokesperson Dick Knapinski said. “It’s taking everything down, putting things away, exhibitors are folding up shop.”

Crews hard at work, taking down tents and getting aircraft back on the runway.

“We’re trying to finish cleaning up the aircraft that we have leftover from the show,” Boeing Plaza Chairman Bob Hilleary said. “The process of getting it out is a little easier than getting in.”

It’s also easier with the event officially deemed a success.

“To come out of this with one of the three or four largest attendances in our history at 608,000 is really gratifying,” Knapinski told Local 5.

Hilleary said it was especially gratifying after the event was canceled in 2020.

“It was a tough year but it was a fun year,” he said. “We had a lot of large aircraft here on our ramp, a lot of exhibitors, good crowd. It was one of the best years we’ve had in a long time that I can remember.”

All those memories were made despite the ongoing pandemic.

“Just the enthusiasm, the joy of people being back here after a year off was something to behold and something that we’re very gratified about,” Knapinski said.

The pandemic did prevent organizers from hosting some familiar events: “putting aside for one year some of the extra things: The Monday night concert, the Runway 5k, some of the big dinners,” Knapinski explained.

Even without those events, he told Local 5 that the spirit of EAA lived on, and that plans for EAA Airventure 2022 are already in the works.

There’s something to look forward to.

Just like crews out cleaning up are looking forward to heading home.

“It’s one of those, you look forward to getting here, and when it’s all done, you look forward to going home,” Hilleary said.

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