Oktoberfest – La Crosse, Wisconsin
Oktoberfest, USA is an annual celebration held in La Crosse, Wisconsin, United States, on the final week of September and beginning of October. The 2012 festival is being held September 28 through October 6. Through the years, the celebration has drawn crowds up to 150,000 people during the opening weekend.
The first Oktoberfest, USA, was held on October 13, 14, and 15, 1961. In early 1960, civic leaders had agreed that La Crosse needed a community wide activity of some sort. The city had been without such an event since 1921. Because that earlier celebration had been a winter carnival, many of the leaders were in favor of renewing this idea as a La Crosse tradition.
During the fall of 1960, several officials of the La Crosse based G. Heileman Brewing Company were also discussing an annual promotion. News of these discussions spread through the firm, eventually reaching the malt house, where two of the employees of German origin suggested an autumn festival similar to the Oktoberfest held annually in Munich. The idea was quickly accepted. In 1961, brewery officials contacted the La Crosse Chamber of Commerce and proposed the idea to chamber members. It was accepted, and both agreed that the chamber would act as the sponsoring organization.
In 1962, the name "Oktoberfest" was registered with the State of Wisconsin. In 1963, "Oktoberfest, USA" was registered and listed as a trademark with the federal government. In 1965, the newly-formed La Crosse Festivals, Inc., purchased the assets of Oktoberfest from the Chamber of Commerce and became the sponsoring organization.