Article by Brad Quarberg
LA CROSSE, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – West Salem freshman Tori Campbell says Oktoberfest’s Torchlight Parade and Special Fester Ball are her favorites during the annual fall festival. This year, she’s participating in those events — and all the other fest’s events — as the 2023 Oktoberfest Special Fester.
Campbell Found out about the honor this summer when her neighbors and friends, Chloe and Candace Drury, shared the news. Her mom, Nicole, asked them to tell her.
“I was really excited and proud,” recalls Tori. “No one ever votes for me and I was very pleased to be chosen.”
Tori’s new title was announced at the Special Fester Ball Sunday, Sept. 10, at All Star Lanes in La Crosse.
Tori says while the evening parade and ball are her Oktoberfest favorites, there are other reasons she loves the fest.
“I like it when the parade is all lit up. I love listening to music and dancing with friends,” she explains. “And at the Special Fester Carnival, I get to go on rides with my classmates and friends.”
Tori is especially excited for the fest this year when she will get to spend more time with friends, along with riding in a carriage for the parades. She’s especially excited to be an “Oktoberfest princess.”
During the rest of the year, Tori enjoys dressing up for trick-or-treating during Halloween, programs at the YMCA and playing sports at school — among other community events.
“I like it when there are community picnics and parades, watching fireworks, seeing the animals at the fair, and going to Mr. Nicks (aka Le Coulee Cheese Castle) for ice cream,” she says.
Oktoberfest has named a Special Fester since 1989. The honor goes to a young person between 9 and 21 with a special need or disability. Their duties as part of the Oktoberfest Royal Family include appearances at Oktoberfest functions and parades. Students attending any La Crosse area school are eligible. Nominations are accepted at oktoberfestusa.com.
• Freshman at West Salem High School
• Parents: Nicole and Jason Campbell
• Brothers: Alan and Noah; Grandmother: Marsha Sanders; Grandfather: Al Campbell
• Favorite things about school: Art, physical education and working on her computer
• Favorite Oktoberfest events: The Torchlight parade and Special Fester Ball