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Oktoberfest brought $26 million to La Crosse region last year, according to tourism study



Oktoberfest has been a big attraction for La Crosse since the 1960’s, and it’s a large moneymaker for the local tourism industry. 

An economic study conducted by UW-Whitewater during last year’s fest says the event generated $26 million for the region.  Back in 2014, the impact of Oktoberfest was estimated at $15 million. 

An oversized check represents the amount of money Oktoberfest brought to the area in 2022.

Just over a million dollars from the fest goes to state and local taxes, and Patti Berra, current president of the Oktoberfest board, says the festival is able to give back to the community.

“Oktoberfest gives financial dollars to 40 volunteer organizations from the La Crosse area,” says Berra. “Our foundation gives over nine $1000 scholarships to area high schools, and Oktoberfest as a whole donates a $5000 scholarship to the Miss La Crosse pageant winner.

The study group received almost 500 responses to a survey distributed to visitors to the 2022 fest. Their report says the average visitor to Oktoberfest has attended for 17 years, and spends an average of $135 while in the area.

Berra says Oktoberfest touches the community throughout the year.

“It’s more than our three-day festival,” she says, “with our grenadiers out in the parades in area communities, donating money, our fest family visiting schools, it’s more than our three days here on the grounds.”

Oktoberfest for 2023 will be held September 28th through the 30th, with the Torchlight Parade planned for the opening Thursday night, and the Maple Leaf Parade on Saturday, the 30th.

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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