La Crosse’s Oktoberfest is a big deal. There’s music, a parade, carnival games, brats, and fried cheese curds along with beer, drinking games, a golden keg, debauchery, and destruction.
There seems to be some agreement that the festival runs too long. This year’s was something like nine days long. That’s a long time. It used to be only four days long. Next year it will be four days long again.
Some are of the opinion that shortening the festival will cut down on the destruction. I’m doubtful. I know the real problem: the parade.
Now, I love a good parade, and as parades go, the La Crosse Oktoberfest parade is pretty amazing. But it’s just too damn long. And it starts too early.
The parade starts at 10AM. So what do people do? They show up early to line the route. What do they do when they’re sitting around lining the route? They drink. Everybody drinks. I saw 50-year-old mothers and even-older grandmothers pounding pre-lunch beers — beers plural. It’s insane. Some bars open at 8AM. The 10AM parade goes though lunch and into the afternoon. Nobody eats lunch; they just keep drinking. When the parade wraps up, people stumble into the fair grounds, hopefully grab a brat, then drink some more. The grounds close at midnight. Then the crowd fills the local bars. Then cars get flipped.
I’m not surprised cars get flipped with that schedule. A 16-hour beer binge only ends one way: cars get flipped. Or set on fire. Or both. That’s how these things work.
Honestly, the parade shouldn’t start until 2PM. Nobody should be allowed to line the route until 1PM. Make everybody eat lunch. Don’t let bars open at 8AM. Start the parade at 2PM, wrap the fucker up by 4:30PM, and everything will be fine. People will have time to grab an early dinner before heading into the fair ground, or, better yet, maybe toss brats to the onlookers instead of just candy for the kids. People need to eat.
Move the parade to 2PM and you solve the car flipping problem. That, or allow property owners to open fire on the flippers.
All that said, Oktoberfest is quite a hoot. We watched the parade. We attended the fest. We picked up a pair of “drinking gloves” for Team Driving Inertia.
Yes, gloves for drinking. You don’t want your hand warming up your beer, do you? Next year we’ll follow the other trend and make ourselves matching drinking t-shirts.