5 Things You Need to Know Before You Go: Oktoberfest

SEPTEMBER 26–29, 2019

La Crosse, Wisconsin

This classic German festival offers beer, food, parades, people, music and other family entertainment.

No matter if you are an Oktoberfest regular or newbie, here are five things to look forward to:

The Tapping of the Golden Keg

A longstanding Oktoberfest tradition, this Oktoberfest experience is held on Friday morning – the day before the Maple Leaf Parade — but it ends up being a highlight for many. Craft Beer Night is held the evening before the Tapping of the Golden Keg, so if you can handle both of these events, along with the Maple Leaf Parade on Saturday, you are a true Oktoberfest professional and deserve your own button.

The Maple Leaf Parade

Take snacks, some chairs and some drinks, and then stake out a location. Let the kids run wild and play catch along the parade route before it starts. Event organizers estimate 100,000 people come to watch this two-mile parade along this stretch of La Crosse. It is the big draw of this celebration, and it does provide fun over several hours. Great marching bands and floats ensure there is plenty of music, clapping and laughing.

The Torchlight Parade

This is another must for families. It is held on the North Side of La Crosse, and marks the official opening of the fest. If you have never attended a parade at night, you must experience it. Listen to marching bands as its players and instruments go by all decked out in glow sticks. The floats are creatively lit up, as well as some of the houses along the route. Once the parade is over, head to Copeland Park & Events Center for the After Glow Bash. Admittance is free and the Packer game will be broadcast on the big screen!

Celebrity spotting in beer tents

Do you ever watch the TV show, “American Pickers” on the History Channel featuring Frank Fritz? He often talks about attending La Crosse’s Oktoberfest, and I know people have taken pictures with him in past years.

Longest-running Oktoberfest in the Midwest.

Some come for the epic parades, others for the biergarten. If you’re German or just looking for an excuse to wear some lederhosen—we’re happy you’re here.

So, raise a stein and prost to 59 years of gemütlichkeit and cheer—it’s what makes us das beste!

Visit the Oktoberfest Web page at www.oktoberfestusa.com.