LA CROSSE HISTORY
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THE LA CROSSE AREA'S HISTORY, DIGITIZED

Oktoberfest


Resources

—Oktoberfest—


Author:
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
Subject:
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse -- Students -- Research -- Periodicals
College students -- Research -- United States -- Periodicals
Journals
History
Creator:
Amlaw, Patrick
Description:
Contested Memories: G. Heileman Brewery, Working Class Leisure, and the Origins of Oktoberfest in La Crosse investigates the origins of Oktoberfest in La Crosse as a working-class leisure festival that G. Heileman Brewery management created for its employees. It analyzes the involvement of the La Crosse Chamber of Commerce, and how the Chamber and the Brewery combined a working-class leisure festival with a commercialized tourist event to showcase local businesses and products at a national level. This paper also investigates how the festival affected employee unity, solidarity, and class-consciousness. I conducted oral history interviews with past G. Heileman Brewery shop employees to determine how they utilized the festival as a leisure opportunity, as well as their feelings, impressions, and memories of Oktoberfest and the Brewery during this time. Interviews reveal that brewery workers came to regard Oktoberfest primarily as a family celebration, contributing little to worker unity, solidarity, or consciousness. Their experiences, memories, and interpretations paint a complex and intriguing picture of the La Crosse Oktoberfest and its origins.
Published as part of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Journal of Undergraduate Research, Volume 8 (2005)