Maintenance crews driving force behind clean Oktoberfest

While many of Oktoberfesters are putting in hours of celebrating this weekend, others are putting in hours of work.

It’s people working long weekends to take care of all sorts of tasks around the festival grounds that make the celebration possible.

While they may go unnoticed, there’s no doubt they’re an important part of a clean and safe Oktoberfest.

Hundreds of people are flooding the Oktoberfest grounds, but not all of them are here to party.

“I don’t get to celebrate. I celebrate watching the people and I think my maintenance crew does too,” said Oktoberfest maintenance worker Lester Cottone, one one of eight people who puts in many hours a day emptying hundreds of trash cans.

“About every 15 minutes we get done and go right to them again,” said Cottone.

They go through hundreds of bags.


“A box like this we go through about 500 or 600 (boxes),” said Cottone.

And while he doesn’t get much recognition, Cottone is proud to serve his community by doing the dirty work.

“Otherwise, there wouldn’t be an Oktoberfest,” said Cottone.

But Cottone and his crew are not the only ones working on Oktoberfest. A few miles away UW-La Crosse police officers like Dave Pehl are also logging long hours.

“This weekend I’m working two 12-hour shifts from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday,” said Pehl.

It’s all hands on deck, with three times the normal amount of officers patrolling the campus area.

“I’m missing out on some family functions but this is one of the few weekends that we don’t allow vacation requests,” said Pehl.

Pehl said he has to enforce the rules, but the goal is to make Oktoberfest a successful celebration.

“I just hope that they have a fun and safe weekend,” said Pehl.

The UW-La Crosse Police have also set up a staging by the campus neighborhoods this year.

That way they can issue citations in a controlled setting without drawing a crowd.

At the grounds, a new crew will come in overnight to pick up all the trash that didn’t make into Cottone’s trash cans and landed on the ground instead.