Maple Leaf Parade dazzles spectators

An estimated 100,000 people lined La Crosse’s streets to watch the 58th annual Maple Leaf Parade.

Many people said they watch the parade every single year.

Sam Grimes said she’s been coming to the parade since she was a kid and doesn’t think she’ll ever stop attending.

“I will do it until I’m old and gray,” Grimes said.

Grimes hasn’t missed a single Maple Leaf Parade in 25 years.

“It’s so much fun,” Grimes said.

Years ago, Grimes marched in the parade for the Holmen High School band.

“I played the French horn,” Grimes said.

Now Grimes and her former bandmates watch on the sidelines, cheering the new kids on.

“I think being in the parade is just a special experience for everybody, and so marching in the parade, as an old marcher, you just remember it forever,” Grimes said.

It’s not just the marching bands making memories. Dancers, singers and even gymnasts

were among the thousands of people who participated in today’s parade.

Ten-year-old gymnast Brynna Stuhr said, “I like parades because they’re fun and people join because they see how fun gymnastics can be.”

Stuhr and her team got to show off their skills.

“I like to show everybody what we can do and how you can have, like, confidence in yourself and show that you can do things that you’re capable of doing,” Stuhr said.

Stuhr’s coach, Kenzie Kraus, says a lot of effort went into making their float so Stuhr and her teammates could perform.

“This is a lot bigger. We definitely don’t do floats this big for any of the other parades. We go all out,” Kraus said.

Kraus said performing gymnastics, especially during the Maple Leaf Parade, is a big confidence boost for her students.

“A lot of our girls learn to get over fears. They learn perseverance, confidence,” Kraus said.

Even though the parade only lasts a few hours, Grimes says the memories will last a lifetime.

“This parade, it is the best memories in regards to marching band,” Grimes said.

More than 100 groups participated in this year’s parade.

If you weren’t able to attend but would like to participate in Oktoberfest, there’s still plenty of time.

There’s music going on tonight on the festival grounds until midnight, and you can go all day tomorrow as well.

If you would like to attend Oktoberfest, tickets are $10 tonight or $5 tomorrow.