Orange and red text with an illustration of a man playing a horn with a green and yellow banner underneath with yellow text on a brown background
The Annual Oktoberfest in La Crosse, Wisconsin marked its 30th year in 1990 and celebrated it’s 59th year in 2019. The annual event includes epic parades, biergartens, food, and activities. Each year, the La Crosse Festivals, Inc. Board of Directors holds a contest for button designs to symbolize the festival for the coming year. For instance, the theme for 2019 was Fest with Das Beste, and the button represented that theme and Oktoberfest in general. Most of the festivities happen at the Northside Fairgrounds or the Southside Fairgrounds. More recent festivals are 4-day events.
The 1990 festival ushered in the fall with music, food, tradition, pageantry, and beer. It began Friday, September 28th at 11:30am with an opening day parade and continued over the next 7 days with over 70 events scheduled for the week. Saturday opened with a Maple Leaf parade at 11am which lasted 2-3 hours. On Sunday, the “Kids” Day Parade started at 3 and Kids Day activities lasted until 5:30 and included Magician Robert Ian. Robert Ian performed at the North and South Fairgrounds throughout the week as well. The culinary centerpiece was on Wednesday, October 3rd as Heritage Night at La Crosse Center which included a variety of cultural foods from over 20 area groups and a full slate of musical performances. Notable musicians from Oktoberfest included members from Guess Who and Herman’s Hermits, though both were missing some members. Others included New Odyssey, polka songs from the Eldon Otto Orchestra and Ricky Yurko, as well as rock music from The Heat, Rockin’ Lilly, and Troubleshooter. The festivities ended on Thursday the 4th with a Torchlight Parade at 7pm.