La Crosse man first in line for Oktoberfest for 23 straight years

Some people started celebrating today at six in the morning.

And while that’s pretty early, someone has them all beat.

Every year, familiar and new faces flood the Oktoberfest grounds for La Crosse’s biggest celebration.

You could definitely call Keith Togerud of La Crosse a fixture here.

“This is home.”

Keith went to his first Oktoberfest 24 years ago, and there’s been something that’s been keeping him coming back ever since.

“From when I was 22 and I learned about that golden keg, I’ve been first since.”

After his first year, he has been first in line to watch the tapping of the keg for more than two decades.

“Since I was 22, I’ve been first in line. Now I’m 44, so 23 years.”

Year after year, Keith watched beer after beer pour out of the golden keg. But how early does he wake up to be first in line?

“That’s a secret.”

Only one thing could get in between Keith and First place for future fests.

“Maybe if they make me fest master.”

But Keith doesn’t need to be festmaster to be a part of the celebration, at this point, Keith knows about every song and chant the tapping of the keg has to offer.

“I’m a guy of tradition, it’s just awesome. Look at the crowd, it’s beautiful just being around family and friends.”

Festmaster is a bit down the road for him.

“It can happen in 2025, I think.”

So for now, Keith is just content being front row center, surrounded by thousands of his friends.

For the weekend, Keith is one of the first to drink from the golden keg, but for every other week of the year, he is the director of respiratory care at a local hospital.

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