In the fall of 2002, Wisconsin Governor Scott McCallum stopped in La Crosse on the opening day of Oktoberfest. Republican McCallum was running for a full term as governor, a year after succeeding Tommy Thompson, who had joined the George W. Bush cabinet. McCallum said he had attended Oktoberfest as a college student, but couldn’t recall everything about that event.
T.J.’s on Pearl Street advertised itself as Oktoberfest “souvenir headquarters,” selling T-shirts and sweats for the fest. A newspaper ad advertised the types of messages you could have on a shirt, such as “Will Polka for Beer” and “I See Drunk People.”
The Heart of La Crosse comedy show at the Pump House featured a musical sketch with a singing and dancing replica of the Ten Commandments marker in Cameron Park. The Tribune ran a photo of the Heart cast, dressed in superhero and comic book costumes, standing next to the actual marker in the park. That led to one letter complaining that the actors appeared to be making fun of the Commandments, yesterday in La Crosse.