Oktoberfest 2019: Crazy George the accordion man

CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (WEAU) -- Wandering around Oktoberfest and finding traditional music is not hard, especially with Crazy George in the area.

"If you go to a music store, all you see is drums, horns, guitars and keyboards; no accordions,” George said. “So we try to keep the umpa going and the accordion music going and touch lives through music."

George says that he is a self-taught musician that started playing full time at age 33, and says that kids don’t know what to think when they see him wearing the giant instrument.

"A lot of kids come up and say, Alexa play some accordion music,” he said.

One kid even mistook the accordion for an old typewriter.

"Another little boy came up to me and said, hey Crazy George, and I said yeah,” said George. “I know what red thing around your neck is. I said what would that be? That's what we call a typewriter. I said that’s not a typewriter."

Crazy George’s music goes beyond the performance, with one local couple saying that George changed their lives ten years ago.

"George is special to me because when I was going through a rough time in life, George does a small show with the kids about what is inside an accordion,” said attendee Bret Bunderson. “He talks about life in general and getting up every day with a purpose and that feeling of friendship."

"He makes everyone feel welcome and enjoys it,” said attendee Maria Bunderson “It is fun seeing the little kids come up and say look at Crazy George with that accordion, play us a tune."

This year’s Oktoberfest royalty also says that George helps change lives with his accordion and big personality when they go and visit cancer patients.

"Just to go to each one of the facilities and sing, the memories that george is playing and singing conjures up in people and just the emotions that come out of that, it is just priceless,” said 2019 Festmeister, Steve Herriges.

Even after three days of nonstop playing, George still has youthful energy and enjoys meeting people from all walks of life that come to Oktoberfest.

George will be at the La Crosse Oktoberfest next week.