LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) - It's still months away, but it's not stopping locals from getting in the Oktoberfest spirit.
Oktoberfest supporters met at Nell's City Grill in La Crosse Thursday night for the first annual "Forks and Corks" event.
The event featured fine German wines and cuisine.
People came out to help support the Gemütlichkeit Foundation, a branch of La Crosse Festivals Incorporated.
The foundation not only helps fund the Miss La Crosse Oktoberfest pageant, but also scholarships for area high school students.
Also at the event, the new Oktoberfest button was unveiled for the first time.
The button symbolizes this year's theme, "Munich on the Mississippi." And the button is a bit unique for something other than the artwork.
"A person, not from La Crosse, came and visited Oktoberfest. He wanted to design the button. I think he picked some of the beauty that maybe we overlook living here everyday. I think it's a great thing. He brought the bluffs in, he brought the Mississippi in, some of our greatest natural resources in," said La Crosse Festivals President Doug Kratt.
All buttons are $7 before the festival and $10 the day of.
Fest organizers say this year will be as fun ever, but there will be some changes.
Along with a new four-day format, the grounds won't look quite the same.
The historic bier hall and some other buildings won't be there because of renovations.
"Some of the buildings have been removed, we just want to assure the public that we're going to have tents down there to accommodate all the public just like we have in the past," said 2013 Festmaster Dave Ring.
The 2014 Oktoberfest runs from Thursday, Sept. 25th - Sunday, Sept. 28th.
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