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How to Do Oshkosh

What to see, where to eat, who to talk to, and how to make the most of the great big airshow in the quiet little town.

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Posters from 1930s air races and expositions decorate the hangar walls, which support racks of ancient engines.


Sidebar:

The flavor of Oshkosh cannot be fully captured within the airport grounds. While the choices are numerous, the following have been recommended by veteran Oshkosh-goers.

HOBBY SHOPS Dymond Modelsports has one the best selection of remote-control model aircraft in the country and is a perennial favorite for pilots of full-size and scale aircraft alike.

RESTAURANTS The local restaurants all serve Wisconsin-size—that is to say, huge—portions, and their prices remain reasonable during the show. Want a 32-ounce prime rib? You’ve come to the right place: It’s on the menu at Winemakers. The sandwiches at Friar Tuck’s are said to be delicious, as are dinners at both the Granary and the Roxy. Waits for tables at both of these places used to be interminable, but thanks to years of practice on the part of the staffs at both places, now rarely run more than an hour. Be warned, the Roxy is boisterous. If you actually intend to hold a conversation with your fellow diners, the Granary may be a better bet. For something a little different, drive up to Menasha to Los Compadres for authentic Mexican food.

For a slice of past Americana, wheel into Ardy & Ed’s Drive-In, where, since 1948, car hops on roller skates take your order. You can enjoy an authentic Wisconsin perch fry at Wendt’s, just south of the seaplane base in the hamlet of Van Dyne. Leon’s is still the spot for the best frozen custard.

BARS On any given night during AirVenture, the lines at Acee Deucee are out the door. Stories of Chuck Yeager and Bob Hoover holding court in the back bar are regularly repeated. Last year on the back patio, a band called Redline 7,000 performed unique interpretations of 1960s rock standards such as Jimi Hendrix’s “Purple Haze.”

At the RCR Split Level Bar, aviation writers and photographers gather in the evening in a real neighborhood saloon, complete with actual neighbors.

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