LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) - Thousands enjoyed the 51st annual Maple Leaf Parade on Saturday morning for pageantry, royalty, brew, bratwurst, and world famous entertainment. More than 150 floats and many of the area's high school bands toured the parade route.
Oktoberfest in the city of La Crosse is a time for friends and family to come together. But for those with children, sometimes the 'festivities' get a little too out of control. This year, there is one brand new aspect of the parade that makes it more 'family friendly.'
It's called the "family zone" and it's an area where people can watch the parade in an alcohol and smoke-free environment. This is the first year the family zone has been around organizers say it's been a great success.
One of the organizers said they were very excited about the family zone this year. "The response we're getting from parents and other people about having a place where they don't have to worry about others who might be a little more festive around them," they said.
The family zone has little things that make it a unique experience such as restrooms and food available for purchase on site.
The organizers of the family zone have heard that many people that have stopped coming to the parades are now coming back because of the zone. "That's probably the best comment you can hear, that for people who haven't been engaged with Oktoberfest, are engaged again," says one organizer.
They say that the zone will return again for next years Oktoberfest as well.
Oktoberfest festivities continue Saturday evening with live music and a carnival. The festival's first sheep's head tournament will be held on Sunday. There will also be a Sunday Funday event at 3:15p.m. for the Packers vs. Bears football game.
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