A La Crosse tradition is in jeopardy.
Oktoberfest organizers are threatening to cancel the Maple Leaf Parade — the hallmark of La Crosse’s largest annual festival — if the city requires the group to pay $18,000 in new parade fees.
The fees are part of a revenue-generating system adopted by the city to help balance its budget. Oktoberfest organizers say they can’t afford them and have suspended plans for the Maple Leaf, Torchlight and opening day parades.
La Crosse’s Oktoberfest is one of the world’s largest German heritage celebrations. The 2011 Maple Leaf Parade attracted more than 100,000 spectators.
Still, the festival lost $40,000 last year, according to organizers. And it required the city’s police department to spend about $150,000 to control sometimes unruly crowds in a party that spanned nearly the entire city