Weather Forecast


Raise your stein to this grad

River Falls High School graduate, Michael Wolff, poses with his winning "Oktoberfest" button design. <i>Submitted photo</i>

LA CROSSE -- With over 70 submissions, 2011 River Falls High School graduate Michael Wolff had the odds stacked against him.

But after all the submissions were in, Wolff had won the coveted role of being the "Oktoberfest" button designer.

Oktoberfest is an annual celebration held in La Crosse from late September to early October.

Wolff's design included a horn, the Fest Masters Hat, a pretzel, a silhouette of a windmill, and a maple leaf (a required element), all in line with the festival's theme: "It's All About Fest."

As the winner of the button design competition, Wolff received a cash prize of $150, two tickets to the Fest Masters Ball and a stein.

Best of all, according to Wolff, is, "People will be wearing the button and it will be all over the city. Plus, people keep coming up to me saying, 'Hey are you Michael Wolff? You designed the 'Oktoberfest' button,' which is pretty cool."

Wolff, a student attending Western Technical College in La Crosse with plans to attend UW-Stout next year to study visual communications, created his button as part of his graphic design classes.

Drawing since he was a young boy, the son of Greg and Patrice Wolff credits his dad with starting him young.

"I would always be drawing in class in grade school and junior high, and I would always get yelled at by the teachers to pay attention, Wolff said. "Once I got into high school I took all sorts of art classes."

With the help of RFHS Vice-Principle Kit Luedke, Wolff found the key to his future.

"One day in the office, I was talking to him about what I was going to do after high school," Wolff said. "I told him that I wanted to go to a four-year college, but you need to have good grades and that wasn't really an option for me. He told me that I should try something with art, knowing that I was always drawing during class."

With the support of his parents and high school teachers, Wolff's decision to pursue art has paid off.

The 2012 "Oktoberfest" will be held Friday, Sept. 28-Sunday, Oct. 6, in La Crosse. For more information visit

Jillian Dexheimer
Jillian Dexheimer has been a copy editor and reporter for the River Falls Journal since 2011. She previously worked for the River Falls Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau. Dexheimer holds a sociology degree from UW-River Falls.
(715) 426-1046