In the fall of 1977, Valley View Mall hadn’t been built yet, so Friday night was still a big time for shopping downtown at Sears, Penney’s, and Doerflinger’s. The Downtown La Crosse Business Association tried a 90-day experiment to let shoppers park for free on Friday evenings, without plugging the parking meters still on the streets. But after just two months, it was clear that cars were being parked longer than the one-hour maximum that would be allowed on the meter, so the freebie might have to come to an end.
The hottest new villain in pop culture that Halloween was Darth Vader from “Star Wars,” and the black Vader costume was in demand. Local comedian Ronnie Eastman got his own Vader outfit, complete with sound effects. Eastman appeared as the Dark Lord at State Road School.
On November 9th of 1977, the hottest comedian in America performed at La Crosse’s Sawyer Auditorium, in a white suit and wearing a fake arrow on his head. Steve Martin had a hit comedy album at the time, and joked to the La Crosse audience that it was great being in the capital of Wisconsin. The top ticket price to see Steve Martin was $8 in 1977, yesterday in La Crosse.