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Oktoberfest to celebrate its 60th year, after taking 2020 off



It was about this time last year, actually just before the 4th of July, that we learned there would be no Oktoberfest in La Crosse for 2020. 

But that was last year, as the COVID-19 outbreak was causing cancellations of practically every public event in America.  This year, the fest is on again. 

Oktoberfest president Kelly Wilde says local officials gave the green light for the 60th anniversary fest just in time for it to happen.

“Just last month, members of the board met with the city mayor and a delegation from the police department, and decided it was in the city’s best interest to have Oktoberfest,” said Wilde.

He says the fest needed a 90-day window to prepare for the usual events, with the official opening on September 30th. 

The Festmaster from 2019, Terry Cowgill, says you can look at his continuing reign two ways, as either a two-year run, or one very long year.

“It really worked out,” said Cowgill. “We got to do our wintertime, our trips to Canada, the parades, Rotary Lights, and then this spring it kind of kicked in gear.”     

One study says Oktoberfest brings about $15 million to the La Crosse economy every year.    

The usual events including the Torchlight and Maple Leaf parades are planned to proceed on schedule between September 30th and October 3rd. 

Illinois artist David Sexauer, who has attended Oktoberfest for several years, designed the 2021 button unveiled on Tuesday.


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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