For La Crosse businesses, Oktoberfest is more than a busy weekend or two – it’s several busy weeks of preparation leading up to the event itself.
Sloopy's Bar on Copeland Avenue is notoriously busy during Oktoberfest celebrations, and its employees order enough food and beer to fill the bar in preparation.
"We order a lot of stuff - beer, brats, burgers, all sorts of foods," said owner Adam Weissenberger.
All 14 of the bar’s employees are expected to work during Oktoberfest, and they're stocked to grill around 1,200 burgers during the event. More than 25 cases of beer, brats and burgers are poised for selling, but even with all hands on deck, serving an average of 7,000 customers in a weekend might empty out this bar's reserves pretty fast.
"Last year the first thing we ran out of is cheese curds,” Weissenberger said. “On Friday morning [customers] they up, they’re outside the door in line at 5:30 a.m. It really starts to get busy, like where you can’t walk in here, close to 9:30 a.m.”
Sloopy's isn't the only business preparing to open its doors to record numbers for Oktoberfest. The downtown Radisson Hotel will house more than 250 over the upcoming weekend, according to manager Pete Boese. That’s a trend he expects to continue for years to come.
"We will be sold out for next year's Oktoberfest on Sunday,” Boese said, “because 90 percent of the people will re-book for next year's event,”
He’s preparing with 15 extra housekeeping staff, as well as more bartenders and waiters to keep the popular breakfast buffets stocked all weekend.
While getting ready for the Oktoberfest crowds can be daunting for these employers, they say it's all part of the fun that comes along with the festival.
"It's a great time in La Crosse during Oktoberfest, people are here to have a good time,” said Radisson restaurant manager Catherine Davis. “You just have to remember that and not get overly stressed out."