Oktoberfest Begins! Tapping of the golden keg

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LA CROSSE, Wis (WEAU)- If the turnout for the tapping of the golden keg is any indication, this year’s Oktoberfest in La Crosse may have some of the biggest crowds in its history.

Thousands of people came to watch Brew-Master Randy Hughes tap the golden keg.

“This is my 17th year. I started in ‘95 since I’ve been Brew-Master for City Brewery. It’s a tradition to have somebody from the brewery tap the keg,” said Hughes.

The beer is unique to Oktoberfest made special for the festival. The recipe for the Oktoberfest brew was created in 2000 and has been used since then. It can only be purchased at the Oktoberfest grounds during the festival.

“I love tapping the keg. I make beer and I love seeing people enjoy the fruits of my labor,” said Hughes.

The new Festmaster of 2013 will be named at the Festmasters ball Monday night, but the rest of the royal family has already been named. Julie Bartels is this year’s Mrs. Oktoberfest. She said that she has been going to Oktoberfest for more than 40 years, and she is happy to finally be part of the Oktoberfest Royal Family.

“I’m now on the inside looking out. I’ve always heard the royal family is amazing and now I know,” said Bartels.

Saturday will be the Oktoberfest opening parade, the Maple Leaf Parade. It starts at 10 a.m. and is expected to draw an extra large crowd this year.

“It looks like we are going to have amazing weather. Come on out everybody and enjoy the Maple Leaf Parade. It’s probably the most beautiful in all of Wisconsin,” said 2011 Festmaster Jerry Kember.

Already people are grabbing spots for the parade, but there are only a few spots where people can set up before tomorrow morning. La Crosse Police do not allow anyone to set up chairs on public property, sidewalk, or the Boulevard until Saturday morning.

The Bruha family has been saving their spots in advance for more than 25 years. They were already at their spot at 8:30 a.m. Friday morning off of Copeland Ave.

“We have always been coming back to this spot, ever since my kids were born. We have about 25 friends and family coming out with us tomorrow,” said Paul Bruha.

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