Oktoberfest Celebrates 56th Year

Local News

Oktoberfest in La Crosse began today with several traditions. But as FOX 25/48’s Erin O’Brien explains, there are also lots of changes coming to this year’s celebration.

It’s time to break out the lederhosen and dirndls for the fifty sixth year of La Crosse Oktoberfest. The fest began this morning with the annual Lederhosen Luncheon and entertainment from the Oktoberfest Singers. The weekend ahead is full of more Oktoberfest traditions but lots of changes are in store too.

“We’re trying to freshen it up a little bit this year. We’re really trying to get more people to come down.”

For example, there’s a new event Sunday afternoon called, Veiner Vogue and Dachsie Dash, where dachshund owners are invited to dress up their dog in costumes and have it run a race.  And after the golden keg is tapped on Friday, it will be raffled off for the first time on Sunday evening.

There’s a new mural just inside the south side grounds, painted by UW-La Crosse students. And Old Style makes its return as the official beer sponsor of Oktoberfest.

But all those changes aren’t scaring people away. The Oktoberfest board president says the four new hotels in the downtown la Crosse area are all booked up for this weekend.

“We always like to keep things new for people. We’re steep in tradition but we like to mix it up a little bit and make sure people have the opportunity to experience something new every day.”

One person who’s seen all those changes is this year’s Mrs. Oktoberfest. Sue Weidemann has been to all 56 Oktoberfests.

“It’s gotten bigger, happier, we had the seventies that were kind of interesting when I was in high school but Oktoberfest is so much fun and there’s so much family involved.”

But she says the biggest change she’d like to see this year is getting even more people involved in the tradition.

In La Crosse, Erin O’Brien, FOX 25/ 48 News at 9.

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