September 3, 2003 - The EAA AirVenture Museum and Pioneer Airport wrapped up the summer season with what appears to be record attendance for a non-AirVenture week. Boosted by EAA's designation as an official tour stop for the Harley-Davidson centennial celebration, along with the Good 'Ol Days of Aviation weekend, nearly 12,000 people came through the doors from August 25-31.
"It was definitely one of the greatest weeks we've ever had," said EAA Museum Director Adam Smith. "Certainly the best in terms of attendance, outside AirVenture, since I've been here."
There were 10,500 commemorative Harley/powered flight centennial pins available for visiting riders during the week and they were gone by noon on Sunday, August 31. Over the Labor Day weekend, planes were taking off and landing at Pioneer at a very brisk pace. A special Saturday evening event at Pioneer exceeded expectations.
"Everything we had was flying, from Young Eagles planes to the vintage aircraft, all the way to the Pitcairn Mailwing, which is always a treat to see in the air," Smith added. Also featured was an old-fashioned air show, including an aerial golf competition that was a hit with the crowd, and other activities reminiscent of a Golden Age air show.
On Saturday night, 200 people attended, "Murder in the Air!" a mystery set in a prohibition-era "speakeasy" at which the audience had to help solve the crime. "It was a hit, and definitely something we'll do again in the future," Smith predicted.
Smith applauded the museum volunteers and staff members for their extra work in handling the larger crowds. "As we got busier when the week picked up, the volunteers, docents, and EAA staff really came through for us. It was a big team effort."
Flights at Pioneer Airport continue on weekends only through October 12.