EAA AirVenture attendance up 1% over 2015

The control tower of Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh is seen July 27, 2016, during EAA AirVenture. (WLUK/Eric Peterson)

OSHKOSH (WLUK) -- More people attended this year's EAA AirVenture than went to the fly-in convention last year.

EAA says attendance was about 563,000 during the seven-day convention, up one percent from 2015. Attendees are counted each day they enter the gates, so the attendance figure includes some attendees who were counted more than once.

A record 2,369 registered international visitors from 80 countries attended AirVenture this year. The top countries represented were Canada, with 578 attendees, Australia, with 340, and Argentina, with 167.

“Our attendance was particularly outstanding, since we had some weather challenges mid-week compared to seven perfect days in 2015," EAA Chairman Jack Pelton said in a news release. "Our grounds crew and our volunteers, who number more than 5,000, did a superb job keeping the site ready for visitors and campers who arrived by ground or by air.”

More than 10,000 aircraft arrived at area airports during the convention.

AirVenture included 2,855 showplanes, 1,124 homebuilt aircraft, 1,032 vintage airplanes, 371 warbirds, 135 ultralights and light-sport aircraft, 101 seaplanes, 31 rotorcraft, 41 aerobatic aircraft and 20 non-categorized aircraft.

There were also 891 commercial exhibitors, a 10 percent increase from 2015.

Highlights of this year's AirVenture included performances by the Snowbirds, a military stunt team from Canada, and a visit from actor Harrison Ford, whose flight with an Illinois teen marked the 2 millionth of the Young Eagles program. The Hawaii Martin Mars, the world's largest flying water bomber, was forced to drop out of the Saturday air show after it was damaged when it hit something under the water of Lake Winnebago during a demonstration.

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