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Riverfest opens in La Crosse

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Riverfest Commodire Bill LaRue distributes this year's buttons at Riverfest.

Can you hear it? Riverfest is officially underway in La Crosse. Volunteers worked through days of rain to put the festival together. They used pumps to remove water from the wet grounds. Riverfest Commodore Bill LaRue said he’s optimistic for good weather during the event.

“Optimism for the weekend? You want optimism? I’m wearing white shoes and white pants, and I’m in a park,” LaRue joked. “I’m very optimistic that we are going to be just fine!”

Riverfest opened Wednesday morning. with a salute to those who are serving and who have served. The ceremonies included the folding of the American flag as well as the raising of the flag.

“It’s very moving and emotional,” LaRue said. “This is a holiday around the Fourth of July, which is our Independence Day. It is about our service to our country, our men and our women as well as those who have fallen.”

La Crosse Mayor Tim Kabat said the festival has grown greatly since its humble beginnings in 1983 to become a staple for the community.

“It really is kind of our summer family reunion as a community,” Kabat said. “We have a lot of people who come back to Riverfest to enjoy time with family and friends.”

The event’s water skiing activities were canceled because of high water. Festgoers can stay up to date on the Riverfest Facebook page.

Kaitlyn Riley’s passion for communications started on her family’s dairy farm in Gays Mills, Wis. Wanting to share agriculture’s story, she studied strategic communications and broadcast journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In college, she held officer positions with the Association of Women in Agriculture and Badger Dairy Club while volunteering as a news reporter for the college radio station. She also founded the university’s first agricultural radio talk show, AgChat. In her professional career, Kaitlyn has worked in radio, print and television news doing everything from covering local events to interviewing presidential candidates, and putting back on her barn boots to chat with farmers in the field. Today, Kaitlyn can be seen covering local stories that matter to you in the La Crosse area.

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