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La Crosse Winter Roots Festival combines local music, food, and art for a cause

This Saturday’s event at the La Crosse Center’s new Riverside Ballroom and Terrace will bring the community together and support Hunger Task Force.



Celebrate music, regional cuisine, artists, makers, brewers and distillers at The La Crosse Winter Roots Festival this Saturday at the La Crosse Center’s new Riverside Ballroom and Terrace.

Music starts at 3 p.m. with Dan Sebranek and Company, followed by American Idol and UW-La Crosse alumni Reed Grimm.

Gregg Hall & The Wrecking Ball will be up next with their blend of county/rock and blues, then local reggae legends TUGG.

The Remainders are a sponsor of the event and will also play a set of their classic rock and Trippin’ Billies, the nations most renown, original and longest touring tribute to the Dave Matthews Band, will close the night.

Even with a lineup this big and diverse, music isn’t the only focus of the event.

Amy Gabay, media director and founder of River Travel Media and La Crosse Local said another goal is to help the community.

A portion of ticket sales from La Crosse Winter Roots Festival supports The Hunger Task Force of La Crosse, as well as silent auctions at the event.

Attendees are also encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item at entry. The goal is to raise $10,000 and collect 5,000 pounds of food

Jay Breier, assistant food and beverage supervisor for the La Crosse Center, said many local restaurants will be involved.

Hmong’s Golden Egg Roll, Big Al’s, The Recovery Room, Dublin Square, and Fat Head Steve’s will have food for sale and Big Boar BBQ is catering the VIP section.

Music isn’t the only art, either. The Driftless Maker’s Exchange Artist Market, hosted in the Upper Riverside Ballroom Hallway, will feature over 20 artists & makers. This portion of the event will be free and all ages from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.

VIP tickets are already sold out but General Admission Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door. Tickets are on sale at the La Crosse Center Box Office and online.

The night before the festival, La Crosse Distilling Co. will be releasing the festival’s Black Lager, Barbegazi. Gabay told WIZM the beer is named after a little mythical creature. “Like a gnome, who had giant feet and would slide down the slope side of the mountain when it was covered in snow, and then climbed back up the mountain in the spring.”

Friday’s release event will feature a free sample of the brew, for the first 100 people, and music by Cheeba, featuring Christian Staehly and Gregg ‘Cheech’ Hall, plus chances to win VIP and GA tickets to Saturday’s event. Hunger Task Force will also be at the pre-party accepting donations. Attendees are encouraged to donate non-perishable food items to get entered for a chance to win raffle prizes.

Hear more from Jay Breier with Christian Staehly, brand ambassador for La Crosse Distilling Co., and Ken Cooper in the latest Around River City Podcast:

Tracy has worked at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 2004. She is half of the Z93 Morning Buzz with Brittany and Ballzer and coordinates Z93's charity, Zcare. She writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse and announces for the Mississippi Valley Mayhem Roller Derby team.

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