Friday, July 2, 2010

Campers, Volunteers All Set for EAA AirVenture

EAA AirVenture doesn't start until the end of the month, but some folks are already taking up residence at Wittman Airport in Oshkosh.

Tents are starting to up. Work along the flight line is taking place. And look around the EAA grounds and you'll see some campers already pulled into town, too.

In fact, the campgrounds for the end-of-July event opened last week.

"People like to camp in the spots that they've had for years and years, and so they'll come in and set up camp and pay for those spots for the next month just so they can have those spots," EAA's Dick Knapinski said.

Get event details on the EAA AirVenture web site

Also staying at these camp sites are EAA volunteers from across the country -- folks who come in to town weeks ahead of time.

They work from about 7:30 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon, helping to set up the grounds for the week-long convention.

"Today I'm painting. Yesterday we fixed," volunteer Dick Rietz said. "The day before, we worked on the building. So, you don't know what you're going to do from the one day to the next."

It's work some of these volunteers have done for more than a decade.

"I got bit by the bug a long time ago. I love being here. It's the world's greatest aviation event and they let us volunteer to help, so I love helping," Dean Baxter said.

While there are some perks for the long-time volunteers, like free meals and admission into the actual EAA AirVenture event, the volunteers we spoke with Friday told us that's not why they're here so early.

"I don't know any better!" Jim Pavlicin joked. "It's fun. It's just fun working with the other volunteers. That's basically what it's all about.">

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