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Livin' it up, drinkin' it down

By Caleb Brown
On September 21, 2011

The start of the 51st annual Oktoberfest USA is upon us. Which, truth be told, is pretty much a city sanctioned drinking party. And, I challenge anyone who disagrees to prove me wrong. Just talking to students here on campus you will find that not too many people  (none that I found at any rate)  actually know what Oktoberfest is all about.

"Celebrating October?" UW-La Crosse student Nathan Harter guesses with a laugh. "I know it's German," said Harter.  "German Heritage" another student said. And yet another said, "German Culture".  But ultimately its about alcohol. "It definitely celebrates drinking and booze," said one more student.

But the more I dug the more I realized that to most people it just doesn't matter. Even the official Oktoberfest Web site says very little about the festival's actual origins. The city, it seems, really wasn't concerned. All they knew is that they wanted an annual festival. And fall appeared to be a good time to have it.

"It brings in the money," one student said of the city's festival.  

So as citizens we seem pretty content with the arrangement. The local economy benefits and good times are had by all. Everybody wins.

But it goes even further than that. Being that La Crosse is a college town, big parties an raucous nights out on the town are not at all uncommon throughout the school year. Sometimes those residents who live near students who partake in such events find ample reason to complain. Oktoberfest changes all that.

"It brings the college and community together," said Jennifer Stutz.

This is one time of year where the permanent residents not only don't mind the merry making, but join right in.

Still, it is kind of funny that as Wisconsinites we seem to have found yet one more excuse to drink. As if we really needed it. Already known as a beer and brat loving state, we certainly do not fail to live up to that reputation.

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