Oktoberfest creates key memories for local family

Local woman went into labor 30 years ago during parade

Oktoberfest creates key memories for local family

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) - La Crosse celebrated its 56th Oktoberfest Saturday and the annual tradition is known to bring the community together.

For one family, the celebration holds a memory they'll never forget.

For the last 37 years, the Johnson sisters haven't missed one year at Oktoberfest.

In fact, they love Oktoberfest so much that one of them, almost delivered her baby there 30 years ago.

"I think I'm really in Labor!," Ellen Gearing said 30 years ago, during the Oktoberfest parade.

It's a day she'll never forget. She turned to her sister Betty, and they did the only thing they could do next:

"Her husband who at that time was a police officer, went and found some other police officers who stopped the parade for us and gave us a police escort to Gundersen," said Gearing.

And an unforgettable moment was born, during one of the most special times of the year.

"And I delivered him! That was 30 years ago," she said.

It's clear Oktoberfest created some pretty dear memories for the Johnson family.

"Our nephew Ben proposed to his Wife Monica," said Gearing.

It was a special moment 13 years ago.

"With a banner, they inserted it in the parade," she said.

And while a lot may change in 37 years, one thing has stayed consistent for the Johnson sisters:

"It's great! We don't miss it! We love it!," they said.

Oktoberfest in La Crosse, is a long-standing, special tradition for the family.

"Our mom and dad loved parades, so they would come and it was always fun to have mom and dad here and then us and then our kids and then the grand kids," said Donna Beranek.

Kids, marriage and a whole lot of memories. For them, it's a little more than just a get together.

"It'll keep them together as cousins and we'd like to see them keep the tradition up and keep the cousins meeting each other."

And the pattern of life and new beginnings, seems to grow, at each year's Oktoberfest.

"Oh that's right, it's my birthday today, I forgot!" said Gearing.

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