The Festmaster for this year's Oktoberfest has a special connection to us here at News 19. Chuck Roth served as General Manager for WXOW and our sister station WQOW in Eau Claire from 1988 until 2008, when he transitioned to a corporate position with Quincy Newspapers, our parent company.
For Chuck and his wife Luann, joining the Oktoberfest Royal Family is an exciting and humbling experience.
"The 2015 Oktoberfest Festmaster and Frau are Chuck and Luann Roth," said 2014 Festmaster Scott Horne at their introduction Wednesday to the Oktoberfest family gathered for the event at the Cleary home in La Crosse.
You can now add the name of Chuck Roth to a very exclusive club. One that includes just 54 names. Men who have shaped the city and made it what it is today.
For Chuck, it's quite an honor.
"We look at it as representing Oktoberfest, representing La Crosse and being a part of a terrific community celebration and we're going to do the best job we can," said Chuck.
Chuck's wife Luann sees her new role as a chance to give back to the community that has given so much to them.
LuAnn said, "Being a part of that is just such an honor and I'm really looking forward to meeting all the new people and sharing the word about how much we love Oktoberfest and the La Crosse area. Its been our home for so many years and we're happy to be here and share that love"
Chuck has shared his knowledge, energy and expertise with La Crosse in a variety of ways over the years. In addition to managing WXOW and our sister station WQOW in Eau Claire, he served on the Chamber of Commerce, including eight years on the Board of Directors: On the United Way, including four years on the Board of Directors and as President in 1995. Also on the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Board of Directors. The La Crosse Community Theatre also benefited from his involvement over the years. As president, he was a driving force behind the funding, planning and construction of the Weber Center for the Performing Arts. Serving as Festmaster is just another way to contribute.
Chuck said, "Its a phenomenal place, an area built with the help of a lot of servant leaders, something I feel strongly about. A lot of special people and to be in the group of past Festmasters and just all of the group that make up Oktoberfest there's phenomenal people at every level of the organization from Grenadiers to the Board of Directors, the Board of Trustees which is made up of former Festmasters, it's just a phenomenal group and they do so much to keep this event going. We're just thrilled to be a part of that entire family."
It is a facet of the personality of people like Chuck not to seek out the spotlight; In fact, they often seek to avoid it. Fortunately, Oktoberfest has offered Chuck a new way to serve; and that's enough to persuade him to put on the Lederhosen, and lead the way.
"Ein prosit....Gemueutlickeit....ticka tacka hoy hoy hoy."
Chuck and Luann have three grown children, Abby, Mary and Daniel.
They will celebrate their 34th wedding anniversary on October 17.