Camp Scholler Land Rush is On! AirVenture campers arrive early to claim their favorite spot
By Fareed Guyot, Manager – Electronic Publications, EAA 388642
Pat Rice was first in line at 7 a.m. as EAA’s Barb Blanck raises the blinds, signaling that AirVenture 2011 is coming soon.
EAA Radio personality "Wireless Mic" (left) and engineer Michael Jammnick carry a coveted picnic table to their campsite.
AirVenture Cup volunteer Craig Henry trims a branch from a tree that last year kept him awake at night. The breeze would make it slap repeatedly on the roof of his camper.
Brisk early morning temperatures in the 50s did not dissuade approximately 50 EAAers from arriving at Camp Scholler for the campground’s annual opening day “land rush.” Longtime AirVenture campers make a point to be here so they can stake out their favorite spots. It’s sometimes a coordinated effort among those who camp together as some begin to rope off their spot and others go to the camper registration building to pick up their passes.
First in line this year was Pat Rice of Green Bay, who has been camping in the same site for about six years. “It’s a spot that I’ve had for a while and I like it,” he said.
Other early arrivers came from Lansing, Illinois; Waukesha and Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Davenport, Iowa, among other locations. Many stayed in the campground overnight but followed the tradition of not marking off a site until first light, which is the unwritten code of the campground. Jeff Point, a chairman in the Homebuilt Parking area said he arrived in Oshkosh Thursday afternoon but could only claim fourth place in line.
Point and other homebuilt parking volunteers spent the night under the Youth Pavilion shelter on the dry concrete as the ground is a bit squishy after a week of off and on rains in Oshkosh. “Hey, I survived Sloshkosh,” said Point, sporting a novelty shirt from soggy AirVenture 2010. “After that, nothing is wet.”
Lou Clark, of Arizona, co-chairs camper registration with Carol Young, of Florida – where it was it was 96 degrees two days ago. Young has been volunteering for 26 years; Clark, who has volunteered for 13 years, summed up the weather this morning with, “It’s cold here!”
Dave Jackson found a spot in Paul’s Woods, a popular place for volunteers to camp. Jackson is from Fond du Lac and his two boys are pilots; one flew for the airlines, the other was a naval aviator. Dave volunteers his time parking airplanes in the Warbird area. “It’s that time of year again,” he said. “I’ve been bringing my family here since 1996.” The whole family is looking forward to the Centennial of Naval Aviation commemoration this year.
Jackson was setting up just yards from the newly widened and deepened drainage channel that bisects Paul’s Woods from the southwest toward the runway.
Meanwhile Terry and Susan Brokaw, of Three Rivers, Michigan (near Kalamazoo), were nailing down one of the closest spots to the AirVenture grounds - just across Knapp Street from Theater in the Woods. It’s been their spot for more than 20 years, and by 7:30 a.m. they had their camper and tubular frame to the roof of their shelter in place. Plus, they had already scored a picnic table.
And that’s another important aspect of the land rush: the race to secure one of many picnic tables stacked around the campground. Like the campsites, the highly coveted picnic tables are first-come, first-served.
No worries if you didn’t make it to Camp Scholler on opening day; you aren’t too late. The early birds have barely dented the campground’s capacity - an estimated 40,000 people.
This year, all early camper registration will be done at the main camper registration building at the Camp Scholler entrance (not at the shed located at Forest Home Ave. and Schaick Rd.). Pre-camper registration on Friday, June 24, is open from 7 a.m.-5 p.m., then 8 a.m.-5 p.m. beginning Saturday, June 25, through Friday, July 22. Starting Saturday, July 23, at 5:30 a.m., registration is open 24 hours until 10 p.m. on Saturday, July 30. For more information on AirVenture camping, as well as all Oshkosh lodging options, click here.
DATES: 2014: July 28-Aug. 3;
2015: July 27-Aug. 2