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Nestled deep in the trees in a picturesque cove along the Lake Winnebago shore is a place where all AirVenture visitors should try to visit: the Seaplane Base, where the runway requirements specify depth as well as length. The Seaplane base offers a respite from AirVenture's hustle and bustle. People often just sit on the shore and watch the planes come and go.
Buses make regular runs between the AirVenture grounds and the Seaplane Base, departing from the Bus Park Tower just outside the Main Gate and the Amphib Parking area at the south end of the airport ($3 round trip for this shuttle).
The Watermelon Social presented by Wipaire, Inc. is the Seaplane Base's big annual event, held on Saturday night. The event started back in 1989 with a few seaplane pilots and volunteers who happened to have a watermelon. In it’s early days there were only a few people attending who enjoyed conversation, camaraderie and “hangar flying”. This social event grew larger in its popularity with its picturesque backdrop and now serves 700 people. This is an opportunity to meet seaplane pilots from all over the world and share stories and acquire friendships.
After a busy week of enjoying all of what AirVenture has to offer, sitting on the shoreline of Lake Winnebago with 100 floating airplanes moored is the perfect setting for a social event. Food for the dinner event is on Saturday evening of AirVenture starting at 5:00 p.m. and is served until 7:00 p.m. Social activities continue through 9:00 p.m. Serving barbeque pork sandwiches, baked beans, coleslaw, and veggies along with beer, soda, water and, of course, watermelon. Take home a souvenir glass mug and you might even win a door prize! Buses are provided from the main AirVenture grounds to and from the Seaplane Base with the last bus leaving the Base at 9:00 p.m. Tickets are $15 each and available throughout the week at the Seaplane Base Registration Office. This is a popular event and tickets do sell out so get yours while they last!
For those of you flying in, The EAA AirVenture Seaplane Base is located at 96WI or (N43°56.47'/ W88°29.62'). If you drive, the address is 5202 Streich Lane, Oshkosh, WI 54902. Phone number to the Base is 920-230-7829 (AirVenture week only).
The Seaplane base is presented by Wipaire Inc. and support provided by Honda Marine and Icom America.