Family continues decades old parade tradition - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Family continues decades old parade tradition

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LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW)-- It's become something of a tradition in La Crosse, people setting out blankets or lawn chairs to stake out their spot to watch the maple leaf parade on the first Saturday of the fest. But this year, the La Crosse Police Department is cracking down on the practice.

But it won't stop some for making sure they get a prime spot, like the King family.

"Getting together with everyone, seeing everyone, it's like a homecoming," said Dan King.

King watches the parade from the same spot on Copeland Ave. and has for the last 30 years.

"This has always been our spot," King said.

It all starts the Wednesday morning before the parade, Dan and his family and friends go for breakfast and then begin taking shifts staking out their spot.

"We've got a lot of people coming from out of town and they've got to have a place for them to all meet and this is where we meet," King said.

Kailee, Dan's 16-year-old daughter has never missed a parade and last year she started taking a turn saving her family's spot.

"I don't remember ever going anywhere else, just here," Kailee said.

An ordinance doesn't allow blankets and chairs to be left out overnight so when the park closes, King packs up his chair., loads it in his truck and then waits in his vehicle all night until the park opens and he can once again take his place.

"A police officer I talked to last night told me are within our rights to be in our vehicles," King said.

Dan and his group save their front row seats, rain shine or snow, every year and Kailee can't imagine it any other way.

"I just like how it's something to look forward to every year," Kailee said. "It's something that's constant. It's something I remember doing as a kid and I want to keep doing it."

Dan says their group varies in size anywhere from 40 to 70 people on parade day...they grill food and when they're finished, they make sure to leave that spot on Copeland Ave. even cleaner than when they arrived.

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