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Yesterday in La Crosse

Welcome to Oktoberfest, guv’nor…18 years ago

Brad Williams

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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.    

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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