Oktoberfest puts plans for parades on hold

Published On: Mar 07 2012 10:48:39 PM CST   Updated On: Mar 07 2012 10:41:35 PM CST

LA CROSSE, Wis. -- The three Oktoberfest parades in La Crosse could be in jeopardy this year.

City officials told Oktoberfest this week they're going to start charging around $18,000 to cover the city's costs associated with the parades. The fees come with the most recent city budget that added user fees to make up for a nearly 1.5 million dollar loss in state aid.

Because of the new fees, the Oktoberfest board of directors has put a temporary hold on plans for the parades. They say they were under the impression they had some leeway to deal with the added financial burden, but because it's so late in the planning game they had no other choice.

"At this point our board of directors really has to look at our budget. When you're looking at a break even budget to begin with, to add on an additional $18,000 is really difficult to swallow," says Oktoberfest USA Executive Director Tina Severson.

Officials from Oktoberfest say they continue to run the fest and parades at a financial loss because they provide an opportunity for the entire community to be a part of the tradition. About 100,000 people attended last year's Maple Leaf Parade.

Oktoberfest officials say even though the fest is seven months away, a resolution or decision has to be made in the next few weeks.