Volunteers make La Crosse's Riverfest celebration happen - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Volunteers make La Crosse's Riverfest celebration happen


LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - La Crosse's Riverfest celebration is underway. Set up for the fest takes nearly an entire week to complete. Most of the work is done by volunteers.

While many of us try to relax over the fourth of July holiday Tom Svec gets to work. The retired business owner puts in a full work week making sure the Riverfest tents are up and the awning's are straight. He's not alone.  "A few hundred show up over the course of set-up time; anywhere from 15 a day to a full crew of 40-50 down here." Riverfest president Nick Bjerke says it takes a small army to not only get the grounds ready, but to make sure everything that supposed to happen at Riverfest actually happens. Volunteers do it all; from selling buttons, to cleaning bathrooms, to taking out the trash. It's not the most glamorous job, but there are plenty of people like willing to pitch in.

Tom has been volunteering with Riverfest for 14 years. Michael Nelson, on the other hand, is a Riverfest rookie. The 3rd year volunteer uses his vacation time, and plenty of elbow grease, to pitch in and help.  "I find that it's a good way to give back to the community, it's some way to get involved where everyone can benefit from it.", says Nelson.

Both men says volunteering is fun and something they look forward to, especially when the fest comes to an end.    

Riverfest president Nick Bjerke says depending on funding, the board of directors would like to throw a party for volunteers. The volunteers we spoke with say all they need is a simple thank you.

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