LA CROSSE, Wis (WEAU)- Oktoberfest in La Crosse is just days away and the city is already in a frenzy getting ready for what is their biggest festival of the year. Many businesses around the area rely on the festival as a major source of their income and for newer businesses they will be trying survive the wave of people.
Fat Sams Bistro is one of those newer restaurants. This year will be their first Oktoberfest and they are a prime downtown location on main street. Normally Fat Sams is just a restaurant but come Oktoberfest they will be staying open until bar time, hoping to get as much business as possible.
“I’m hoping it could double our sales than a normal Saturday,” said Owner of Fat Sam’s Josh Post.
An average of 3 million dollars is spent every Oktoberfest by tourists and visitors according to the La Crosse Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. Having so many people in town makes Post a little nervous.
“I’m slightly apprehensive, there is always some chaos with Oktoberfest and people can get rowdy but I think I can contain it if it does happen,” said Post.
Mayor Harter says he’s excited for the event but hopes everyone stays safe.
“I hope everyone enjoys and acts responsible and drinks responsible. Stay with friends and overall have a good time,” said Harter.
The La Crosse Police Department is adding many more elements to their force during Oktoberfest this year. Not only are they for the first time going to have a patrol boat out on the waters at night, but the will have a bike patrol out as well during the weekends.
On campus the department is being very proactive about letting students know that underage drinking will not be tolerated. Signs have been hung on doors that say what students should do if they plan on having a party and also specify the penalties if they don’t follow the law. The department is also setting up a new command center on the UW-La Crosse campus between Pine and Vine street in the ally way on the 1100 block.
8 other police agencies have agreed to team up with the La Crosse P.D. in order to have the man power they need to make sure the city is safe as possible during the festival.
Oktoberfest will start with the Maple Leaf Parade Saturday, at 10 a.m.