Impact of Oktoberfest on La Crosse

It’s the final day of Oktoberfest.

The event means a lot to the La Crosse community.

In addition to being a fun time, the festival draws in a lot of tourists, which helps our area’s economy.

Oktoberfest Festmaster Mike Keil said, “It is truly special to be in this role.”

Keil said it means a lot to be part of Oktoberfest.

“It’s very good for the community for visitors to come here, and it’s good for us, too. It’s a good community event,” Keil said.

Keil said the festival is extremely important for La Crosse.

“It’s in the millions of dollars that it infuses into the community, so it’s very good for the community,” Keil said.

Chuck Thoftne, the Torchlight Parade marshall said, “It has a positive impact from a financial standpoint I mean, you have 100,000 people that come in. The hotels are busy, the restaurants are busy and so I think it brings a tremendous amount of income into the community.”

Some of the people who visit during Oktoberfest even end up moving here.

Miss La Crosse Oktoberfest Elle Mark said, “I’m not from La Crosse. I’m from Red Wing, Minnesota, but I’ve lived here for five years now, and I plan to stay here for quite some time. I can’t imagine ever not being here.”

Mark said Oktoberfest is one of the main reasons she moved to La Crosse.

“I knew that I wanted to be a part of Oktoberfest specifically, because Oktoberfest really is what drew me into La Crosse and helped me stay here, knowing that there was such a strong community here,” Mark said.

Others, like lifelong La Crosse resident Thoftne, said going to the festival has become a family tradition.

“I can remember coming down here as a little kid, going to the carnival rides. Now we’ve got our grandkids coming down, riding on some of the rides, and so it’s the third generation that’s encountering some of this enjoyment,” Thoftne said.

Overall, the royal family said it was another successful year.

“We have just a wonderful royal family this year, and they’ve been really fun to work with, all very good people,” Keil said.

Even though the event was successful Thoftne said attendance at the Carnival in Copeland Park may have been down because of the cooler weather.