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Mrs. Oktoberfest float gets “krausened” with bottle of Old Style



Mrs. Oktoberfest 2022 Sandy Cleary smashes a bottle of Old Style beer onto the new float

A newly-remodeled parade float for Oktoberfest was unveiled Thursday and “launched” in La Crosse.

Mrs. Oktoberfests’s new new float was christened behind Kramer’s Bar on 3rd Street. Perhaps “christened” isn’t the right word, according to 2012 Mrs. O, Julie Bartels.

“We decided to ‘krausen’ a new float,” Bartels said, referring to the method of brewing used for making Old Style beer.

Instead of using the traditional bottle of champagne used for launching boats and ships, the reigning Mrs. O, Sandy Cleary, broke a bottle of Old Style onto the float.

The new Mrs. Oktoberfest float was revealed on Sept. 7, 2023.

Sandy Cleary’s father, Russ Cleary, and grandfather, Roy Kumm, both led the Heileman Brewery in La Crosse for many years.

Fest organizers decided that it was time to improve on the float that the Mrs. Oktoberfest winners had used for 25 years. At the ceremony, attended by many of the past Mrs. Os, Bartels gave a blessing to the float.

“We ask that God bless her and her passengers on their parade journey, and allow them to return safely under your loving care and guidance,” Bartels said, adding that the float is built onto the frame of an old Aquinas school bus.

Mrs. Oktoberfest was added to the fest royal family in 1968, during the first decade of the local fall celebration.

The official fest events for 2023 begin this weekend with the Miss La Crosse-Oktoberfest pageant Saturday night.

The new Festmaster will be introduced publicly on Sept. 27 — the night before this year’s Oktoberfest begins.

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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