EAA AirVenture 2004 Stats -- Good, But Not Great

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On Saturday, EAA released its preliminary figures from this year's AirVenture fly-in. The estimated attendance figures show a 10- to 12-percent decrease from last year's total of 770,000 for the centennial event (not at all obvious to us), but the number of commercial exhibitors held almost steady -- with 802, compared to the 2003 record of 807. "A near-record number of vendors throughout the grounds reported brisk sales and interest, while visitor surveys show their experiences were overwhelmingly positive," said EAA President Tom Poberezny. EAA cited weather (rain, thunderstorms ... that we did notice), economic factors and other (unspecified) reasons for the drop in attendance. More than 10,000 airplanes, including nearly 2,500 show planes, made the trek to Oshkosh this year. "EAA again brought together the world of flight for a celebration that is unmatched anywhere else in the world for its size and scope," Poberezny said. EAA counted more than 30,000 campers, 700 reporters from five continents, 4,000 volunteers and 1,429 registered international visitors. Currently, EAA AirVenture 2005 is scheduled for July 26-August 1, although the finalized dates and theme will be announced later this year, EAA said.