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Crowds enjoy yearly “Thriller” dance in La Crescent on Halloween weekend



Karina, recently arrived in the U.S. from Ukraine, attended the Thriller Dance in La Crescent.

LA CRESCENT, Minn. — A fairly new Halloween tradition brought people from far and wide to La Crescent on Sunday to watch volunteers dance like zombies to Michael Jackson’s record “Thriller.”

Hundreds of people gathered at a downtown intersection on Sunday night for the fifth annual Thriller Dance, organized and choreographed by local resident Meagan Waddell.

She brought the Thriller idea from Lexington, Ken., where the public dance is featured in Halloween festivities.

Thriller dancers get close to spectators lined up in La Crescent on Sunday night

“When we started here five years ago, there was maybe 10 or 15 zombies,” Waddell told the La Crescent crowd, “and now there’s over 60.”

Last year, the event attracted 42 dancers. Waddell said the dancers for this year ranged from 4 to over 70 years old.

For some in the audience, it was their first time seeing it.

Waddell gave out some awards, including for the people who traveled the farthest distance for the event.

That honor went to some visitors who arrived in the U.S. this year from Ukraine.

One of them, a girl named Karina, said this is her first Halloween in the US. She said she loves dancing. Her reaction to the Thriller Dance?

“It was so cool,” she said.

After rehearsing once a week throughout October, the Thriller group performed the dance routine twice around sunset on Sunday.

Meagan Waddell (far left, in red costume) leads the Thriller Dance in La Crescent on Oct. 29, 2023 (PHOTO: Brad Williams)

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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1 Comment

  1. Susan Sandlin

    October 31, 2023 at 12:03 am

    I would love to be dancing in it next year I live in LaCrosse wi it would be really awesome

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