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Riverfest returns after a year off



The first week of July brings Riverfest to downtown La Crosse — not counting last year, when the event was called off because of COVID. 

The five-day festival began Wednesday afternoon with the traditional flag-raising at Riverside Park. 

Local military science professor Erik Archer spoke at the ceremony about the sense of giving you find in La Crosse and in the spirit of the United States.

“Titans of philanthropy walk among us. Dave and Barb Skogen, the Weber group, Pat Stephens, Tom Hundt, so many more,” Archer, who teaches at four area colleges, said. “We as individuals, and as a community, give.”

Archer compared the local giving to sacrifices called for in the Declaration of Independence. 

Bill La Rue served as commodore during the most recent Riverfest in 2019, and is unofficially a spokesman this year without a formal 2021 Commodore, saying the experience is like the movie “Groundhog Day.”

“People are just wanting to be able to socialize and be out again,” La Rue said. “They’ve not been able to take part in any type of event.”

There’s more open space through the park at this year’s festival, with food vendors spread throughout the grounds.  Several performances will be at the bandshell or on the north stage.  

Riverfest continues through the 4th of July on Sunday.    

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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