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The speaker is a 65-year-old White woman with a college education from Medary Township, near La Crosse, Wisconsin; she was recorded in 1968, with her husband also contributing to the conversation.

County: La Crosse
State: WI

The city of La Crosse, located at the confluence of the Mississippi, the Black, and the La Crosse rivers, has been an important shipping point from its early days as a trading post for the western frontier, through the development of Mississippi River commerce, and with the establishment of a railroad hub. Settlers from many ethnic groups peopled La Crosse, but the first and largest group came from Germany after the revolution there in 1848. The German tradition of Oktoberfest has been revived in La Crosse and is the subject of the following excerpt.
Husband of Inf: This year there was a an entirely different format, uh, an entirely new different, um, different uh, board of directors, it's divorced itself from the Chamber of Commerce and it's now a separate activity. There was a good deal of criticism because of what happened. Nobody could prevent that. I mean, eh it really wasn't a justifiable criticism because people being what they are, they'll do what they want to do.

FW: That's right.

Inf: Well, another thing. Dur-, around in the streets, they blocked off the streets downtown, you know, 'n' had it down. And they had German bands playing at different hours. People would dance to it. And these German-, they had many German bands [Husband of Inf: Oh yeah] going around which is, 'course is typical of [(?)].

Husband of Inf: And o' course, as I say, they serve bratwurst and beer. And uh, you couldn't get in to get a bratwurst or a beer, I'll tell ya.

Inf: They were just jammed.

Husband of Inf: Those first two years, it was just something awful. We uh, we used to go up to the Elks, uh, which was right nearby, and then you could go over and take part in some of the activity an' then go up there and get out of the way, you know.

Inf: They'd serve bratwurst and beer, also, you see, so

Husband of Inf: I don't think we went at all last year, did we? I don't think so.

Inf: No. But the first year, of course, and the second year were the really fun years. After that it got to be kind of a mess.

FW: Yeah.

Inf: 'Cause the kids spoiled it all.

Husband of Inf: This year they're changing it a good deal 'n' gonna have uh, off uh, they're not gonna close the streets. They're going to be off the streets in parking lots, I guess and ah,

Inf: And of course they have a tremendous parade which lasts about four or five hours. They, the people from uh the uh Ice Capades, uh no, the, yeah Ice Capades, St. Paul

Husband of Inf: St. Paul Winter Carnival.

Inf: Winter Carnival'd come down. They had bands from Madison. Oh, they had huge bands.

Husband of Inf: University of Wisconsin band played.

Inf: Yeah, they played. They really had a beautiful parade.

Husband of Inf: They led the first- they led the parade the first year. University of Wisconsin marching band. Boy, that was really tremendous, if you can imagine. [FW: Yeah] 'cause they're good.

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