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Last year’s Oktoberfest royalty gives advice to future fest leaders in La Crosse

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FILE - Oktoberfest 2019.

The new Festmaster for the 2022 Oktoberfest in La Crosse will be introduced Wednesday night, at the Festmaster’s Ball. 

That’s when reigning Festmaster Tom Tiggelaar passes along the title he was awarded in 2020, around the start of the pandemic. 

Asked om what advice he would give to his successor, Tiggelaar seems to have figured out a formula for the event: “One beer, two waters,” he joked.

FILE – Festmaster, Tom Tiggelaar, leads “Ein Prosit” at a private Oktoberfest gathering back in September of 2021.

Seriously, Tiggelaar’s advice to any future Festmaster is “enjoy every bit of it that you can.”

“It goes quickly,” he said. “It’s a marvelous time. You may think that it’s gonna last forever, but it doesn’t. It goes quickly, and you’ll enjoy all the people that you meet. Embrace them all, because it’s so much fun.”

A similar message comes from last year’s Maple Leaf Parade marshal, Anne Radtke, a local radio legend on Z93 and Classic Hits, who went by the name Sam Strong and recently retired

FILE – Samantha Strong (right) with the 2021 Torchlight Parade marshal, Scott Neumeister, back in September of 2015.

Radtke said fest royalty comes to enjoy the hectic schedule, “Whether it’s at the Moose Lodge or whether it’s back to the festgrounds, you stay at the festgrounds, then you’re carted off to do things with the visiting dignitaries from other festivals.

“There is a certain cachet for being the last royal standing at the end of the night when they close the fest.”

Wednesday, the night before Oktoberfest begins, the Festmaster’s Ball is held at the La Crosse Center. A few years ago, the ball was moved briefly up to August, so it wouldn’t fall halfway through the festival, as it did for a time when the fest was shortened from nine days to a Thursday-to-Sunday schedule.

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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