2023 Maple Leaf Parade Marshal –
Written by Brad Quarberg
La Crosse native and 1985 Logan High School graduate Jeffrey Hankey has been named the 2023 Oktoberfest Maple Leaf Parade Marshal.
Hankey was told of his new role when two former parade marshals, Patti Lokken and Paul Stuhr, and his wife, Cindy, came to his house. He thought they were inquiring about the past parade marshal float he helped build or about the plans for a new past Oktoberfest Special Fester float. Instead, they told him he would be joining the parade marshal fold.
Hankey says he’s honored to be included in a group of whom he calls, “exceptional humans.” He says he sees volunteer work as an easy way to help and do what he can for the community.
“I never would have guessed that I have done enough, or accomplished nearly enough, to even make it to a list of nominees for such a position of honor,” he says.
Hankey is no stranger to the Maple Leaf parade. He’s marched in Oktoberfest’s premiere parade every year since 1979, except 1991. That was the year he got engaged and needed to meet his in-laws at a family wedding held on parade day.
His other roles in the parade have usually been on the drumline — playing with the Cavaletts, Warriors, Logan High School Band, UW-La Crosse marching band, UWL Alumni Band, Bagpipers and Wisconsin Tuba Marching Society. Hankey and his wife, Terri, have marched with the Oktoberfest Grenadiers since 2015.
And for 15 years Hankey marched in the Maple Leaf parade twice each year. After being in a unit at the front of the parade, he then headed back to the staging area to march the route again with the drumline of the popular UWL Alumni Band. He’s known to share his marching quads with young parade watchers, or even laying down on the pavement while playing for effect.
Hankey, who earned an associate degree and completed apprenticeships from Western Technical, has worked as a certified auto technician, as well as journeyman sheet metal worker and commercial electrician. He currently works in sales and HVAC design for Dakota Supply Group. In his spare time, he and his wife take Oktoberfest spirit to area parades, along with other events. The Hankeys also travel with the royal family to schools and nursing homes the week following Oktoberfest, with him playing drums.
“I always hope to bring something special to anyone attending our events,” Hankey explains. “I do everything I can to single out kids, grandmas, veterans, and special needs parade goers, to do a little part in making them feel included in the parade or events happening.”
In addition to parades, the Hankeys enjoy playing ball at Miracle Field at the YMCA in Onalaska and helping special needs children have fun at “Tanz fur Alle,” the Oktoberfest Special Fester Ball.
The Jeffrey Hankey file
- Resides in Holmen
- Married to Terri Hankey
- Graduated from La Crosse Logan High School, 1985; associate degree, apprenticeships, Western Technical College.
- Currently works in sales and design in the HVAC department at Dakota Supply Group. Previously, a certified auto technician, journeyman sheet metal worker and journeyman commercial electrician.
- Among his volunteer work: Oktoberfest Grenadier; drummer for various local groups; float building coordinator for Past Oktoberfest Parade Marshals, Past Oktoberfest Special Festers;
Member of UWL Alumni Association Board of Directors; board officer with the UWL Alumni Band; competitor and team organizer for children with disabilities at Onalaska YMCA Miracle Field; Toys for Tots; Rotary Lights.
Former Maple Leaf Parade Marshals
|Year||Maple Leaf Parade Marshal|
|1980||L. Peter Groves*|
|1977||Paul "Pip" Wuest*|
|1976||Jean Gitz Bassett|
|1973||Alma Burns Zahn*|
Maple Leaf Parade
Parade Marshal Nomination
Know Someone that should “Lead the Way?” Nominate a Parade Marshal today using the Parade Marshal nomination form!
Submit your nomination for a Parade Marshal by completing the online form linked below.
Your nominee should be a person who:
- has contributed positively to the good of the community through leadership and outstanding accomplishments
- is someone of good character that is well-respected
- is a resident for at least 10 years within 20-mile radius of La Crosse
- is actively involved and well-known in La Crosse community
- is well-known, well-liked, friendly and outgoing
- has the time to devote to Oktoberfest activities!