2022 Maple Leaf Parade Marshal – Dave Guepfer

He has volunteered for Oktoberfest for more than 30 years. Now he will be leading Oktoberfest’s grand parade. 

Dave Guepfer, who served on the festival’s board of directors for 16 years and recently retired as Food and Beverage Manager for the La Crosse Center, has been named the 2022 Maple Leaf Parade Marshal.  

Guepfer’s years of service on the Board of Directors began in 1987, culminating as festival president in 1991. Since then, he has had numerous stints back on the board adding up to 16 years, serving on at least a dozen Oktoberfest committees and volunteer worker positions, including coordinating the Festmaster’s Ball and Craft Beer Night. He also helped with many of the concert performers on the grounds. And for the last 20 years, he has assisted with tapping the Golden Keg on the festival’s opening day.  

All that dedicated service was natural after some good advice served up during his first job.  

“My first boss Dick Lommen at McDonald’s told me if you want more than just a job, get involved in your community,” Guepfer recalls. 

He got involved with the La Crosse Jaycee’s, which led to one of his most favorite volunteer projects: helping erect a U.S. flag atop Grandad Bluff.  

In 1983 as president of the Jaycee’s Guepfer asked La Crosse Mayor Pat Zielke what project he would like the Jaycees to take on.   

Zielke told him he wanted a new flag and flagpole on the city’s iconic bluff. Guepfer chaired the project that installed a new, 70-foot flagpole and 15-foot by 25-foot flag. It was dedicated July 4, 1984.   

He also helped with the Jaycees’ popular Toys for Tots drive each Christmas, which provides presents for many area kids during the holidays. When Guepfer aged out of the organization in 1987, Ken Birnbaum asked him to join Oktoberfest. He has helped ever since.  

While he’s very familiar with the fest, Guepfer’s looking forward to seeing the different side of Oktoberfest as the Maple Leaf Parade Marshal.   

“I’m excited to be able to take part in the many area parades along with the visits to other festivals,” he says. 

Guepfer will have more time to dedicate to those new duties thanks to retiring as the Food and Beverage Manager for the La Crosse Center earlier this year. He still serves in leadership roles for the National Association of Concessionaire, and he received the organization’s top honor, the Mickey Warner Award, in July. 

Because of his 50 years in the food business, Guepfer has selected “Friends, Food, and Fun” as the theme for his button. Designed by his daughter, Makenna, the button includes an Oktoberfest stein with a button from the year he was the festival’s president, along with nachos that look like maple leaves. The design also includes the logo of the National Association of Concessionaire and the golden arches where he first worked.  

Former Maple Leaf Parade Marshals

YearMaple Leaf Parade Marshal
2021Sam Strong
2019-2020Joe Heim
2018Neil Duresky
2017Gary Rudy
2016Brad Quarberg
2015Chuck Moore
2014Mike Desmond
2013Jean Thompson
2012Ed Biddick
2011Jim McGettigan
2010Ardie Schock*
2009Tom Thibodeau
2008George Smith
2007Dave Clements
2006John Stokes
2005Tom Pahs
2004Max Kottmer*
2003Marty Severson
2002Mike Kearns
2001Roger Harring
2000Elmer Grassman
1999Dolly Ozburn
1998Al Townsend
1997Pat Moore
1996Terry Peterslie
1995Bill Hoel
1994Bob Marck*
1993Dick Hackett
1992Edgar Kroner
1991Bob Wilhelm*
1990Lyle Anderson*
1989John Flanagan*
1988Noel Richards
1987Bob Soules*
1986Jim Jacobson*
1985Raymond Bice*
1984Russ Cleary*
1983Phil Quillin*
1982David Nudd*
1981John Alexander*
1980L. Peter Groves
1979Gordon Feinberg*
1978Dale Rudy
1977Paul "Pip" Wuest*
1976Jean Gitz Bassett
1975Fred Kramer*
1974Charlie Kearns*
1973Alma Burns Zahn*
1972Fred Abraham*
1971Ed Quillin*
1970Palmer Hanson*
1969Kootch Carroll*
1968Paul Kreutz*
1967Babe Weigent*
1966Jim Conway
1965Marge Lienlokken*
1964Frank Italiano*
1963Jack Martin*
1962Joan Engh
1961Esther Domke*
* Fondly Remembered

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!

Click here to nominate a Parade Marshal