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Gathering of Eagles
June 2015 - More than 100 volunteers and 100 staff members come together every year to make the Gathering of Eagles event successful and unforgettable. But what is “the Gathering” and, more importantly, why is it part of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh? Here’s some history:
More than 20 years ago, the Gathering of Eagles began as a fundraiser that brought together some of EAA’s supporters and donors to support our youth education programs. For the first few years in the early 1990s, the event was held in a tent behind the museum and was attended by a few hundred people. Today, the evening brings together 1,100 people of all ages, corporate and individual sponsors alike, in the museum’s Eagle Hangar, which is specially transformed for this night.
Since its inception the goal of the event was to help fund EAA programs, including EAA’s flagship Young Eagles youth program. This is the event that helps supply the resources needed to support the EAA-member volunteers who fly Young Eagles and inspire youngsters to pursue flight.
In addition to the volunteers and the money raised, there has been leadership from notable aviation personalities who have served as Young Eagles chairman over the past 20-plus years. They include Cliff Robertson (1992-1994), Gen. Chuck Yeager (1995-2003), Harrison Ford (2004-2009), Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger and First Officer Jeff Skiles (2009-2013), and Sean D. Tucker (2013-present).
Over the last decade alone, approximately $20 million has been raised for EAA’s programs from the Gathering of Eagles gala. Proceeds are derived from individual admission and table sales, corporate sponsorships, and fantastic auction lots. It brings together all elements of the aviation community, including companies who are competitors throughout the year, to build the future of flight. Imagine the possibilities of everything we can accomplish in the next 20 years!
The Gathering is an event known for attracting some of the most prestigious and influential personalities in aviation. In past years we’ve hosted Bob Hoover, astronauts Gene Cernan and Jim Lovell, sports personalities Arnold Palmer and Ken Griffey Jr., and Hollywood notables John Travolta, Morgan Freeman, and Kurt Russell.
The evening includes dinner, live entertainment, a silent auction, president’s choice auction, and live auction. For nearly a decade, a highlight of the live auction has been the one-of-a-kind Ford Mustang, specially designed by Ford’s engineers as a unique collectible car. This car has commanded up to $500,000 alone!
A sneak peek to some of the many items being auctioned off at this year’s Gathering of Eagles:
- Official Firework Starter and Pyrotechnics Experience for AirVenture Night Air Show
- VIP NASCAR Alabama 500 Sprint Cup Experience for Two at Talladega Superspeedway
- Experience AirVenture 2015 Air Shows From the “Best Seats in the House”
- Experience Oshkosh From the Sky in a B-25J Mitchell Panchito Ride for Six
- Six Days at Space Camp in the U.S. Space & Rocket Center
- AirVenture 2016 Package With Two Days of Golf Cart Use
The Gathering of Eagles is an event all volunteers should be part of. It’s a night you won’t forget, and neither will the future’s aviation leaders.