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Torchlight and Maple Leaf parade marshals named, as La Crosse’s Oktoberfest nears



Oktoberfest will have two Logan High School alumni leading the parades this year.

Jeff Hankey and Scott Hendrickson were introduced Wednesday as the parade marshals for the fest, which begins on Sept. 28.

Hendrickson will lead the north side Torchlight parade that Thursday night.

Scott Hendrickson serves as the Torchlight Parade marshal on Sept. 13, 2023 (PHOTO: Brad Williams).

“I remember goin’ to it as a kid,” Hendrickson said of the parade. “I lived on Loomis Street, so we’d walk over to Gillette Street, and back then, they had real torches and sparklers,” in the late 1960s and early 70s.

Hendrickson is a veteran, who has done medical work with Mayo Clinic and the VA. He said his favorite day of Oktoberfest is Friday, when he goes to Sloopy’s Alma Mater early in the morning, before attending the Tapping of the Golden Keg at the main festgrounds.

Jeff Hankey poses for a photo after being named the Maple Leaf parade marshal on Sept. 13, 2023 for La Crosse’s Octoberfest. (PHOTO: Brad Williams).

Hankey will be leading the Maple Leaf Parade, instead of playing with the UW-La Crosse Alumni Band.

“I’ve been in a lot of parades,” Hankey said. “This’ll be my 45th parade to be in for the Maple Leaf.”

Hankey, who works with Dakota Supply, said he lets kids play on his drums during the parade.

“It’s one of the best things, and it’s a great way to reach out to other communities as well,” he said.

As part of the Oktoberfest royal family, both men will travel to different community celebrations around the Midwest over the next year.

The parade marshal announcement happened during a pre-Oktoberfest celebration at Loggers Field in Copeland Park. Mrs. Oktoberfest will be introduced at a dinner Saturday on the UW-L campus.

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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