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Riverfest Lights up Independence Day in La Crosse

by Judy Gull

The annual family fun fest that is the La Crosse Riverfest will take place during the week of the Fourth of July - from Wednesday, July 3 through Saturday, July 6. The promoters of this year’s spectacular four-day party will go out of their way to ensure it provides "something for everyone" in the community, and surrounding Mississippi River bluffs region, to enjoy.

La Crosse's beautiful Riverside Park (located on the 100 Block of State Street) has played host to Riverfest ever since its inception way back in 1983. In addition to the sparkling and explosive Fourth of July fireworks show at about 10 p.m., launched over the Mississippi River by the La Crosse Skyrockers and sponsored by the La Crosse Jaycees, Riverfest offers a plethora of entertainment, food experiences, arts and crafts, a children's parade, outdoor family movie, and more.

The fun officially begins when Riverside Park opens its Riverfest gates at 5 p.m. Wednesday, July 3. Highlighting the musical part of the event is the band Cheap Trick, scheduled to take the Kaplan University Main Stage at about 9 p.m. on opening night. Some of the other notable entertainers scheduled to perform at Riverfest include the El Caminos, a Hypnotist Show, the Southern Bluffs Wizards Jump Rope Team, and the Warriors Baton and Drum Corps.

Food and beverage vendors at the festival run the gamut, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • A&W Family Restaurant
  • Ciatti’s
  • Famous Dave’s
  • Fazoli’s
  • Seven Bridges
  • Culinary Visions
  • Fresh Squeezed Lemonade

You can begin your own personal access to Riverfest today, by purchasing an official Riverfest button. Not only are these buttons stylish and cool looking, but the financial contributions gathered from these little buttons will allow the sponsors of the event to donate more than $60,000 to numerous community organizations.

If you act fast, you can still purchase Riverfest buttons online. During the transaction, you will have the option of either picking up your buttons at the Riverfest Office near the north end of Riverside Park, or having them mailed to you at an additional cost for shipping and handling.

The buttons cost $5 each before Riverfest kicks off, and $7 at the gate. Buttons will not be available via the web once the party starts.

For the full schedule, Events Calendar, Entertainment Listing and any other information relevant to Riverfest 2013, visit RIVERFEST.

The city of La Crosse, Wisconsin, resting along the banks and amid the bluffs of the mighty Mississippi River, offers residents and visitors alike an incredible opportunity – delightful travel on one of the most famous rivers in all of America. Experience the Mighty Mississippi’s wild splendor and breathtaking beauty by taking a cruise aboard one of La Crosse's riverboat tour companies such as Mississippi Explorer Cruises or old-world paddleboat cruises aboard the La Crosse Queen.

The La Crosse Queen is a life-size replica of a 19th century riverboat that also happens to offer a number of essential, and not-necessarily essential, modern-day conveniences and services. This matriarchal riverboat (regularly inspected by the United States Coast Guard), is licensed to easily transport a maximum of 149 passengers.

There have actually been six previous vessels christened with the name ‘La Crosse Queen’ that have plied the pools and backwaters of the Mississippi River from the city of La Crosse's Riverside Park. So, it is aboard the La Crosse Queen VII, launched on its maiden voyage in 2008, where you will enjoy your sightseeing and excursion cruises today.

As indicated above, what you will see and do on these cruises depends on the specific type of cruise you decide to book. The first decision you will have to make is whether you want to take one of the various public cruises, or explore the option of chartering a much more intimate private cruise. Some packages include the following:

Public Cruises

Cocktail, Dinner and Sunday Brunch Cruises - These are typically two-hour tours where food, beverages and relaxation are the primary highlights - next to the mighty Mississippi River and surrounding scenery, of course.

Interactive Wildlife Eco-Tour and Sightseeing Cruises - These are typically laid back, casual, 90-minute affairs, on which you are given a guided tour up and down the river. Your guide will provide you with descriptions of some of the scenery and wildlife, as well as entertain you with interesting factual and trivial bits of information about the various points of interest.

Private Chartered Cruises

When you charter a Mississippi riverboat, you are often allowed to customize your experience to best suit your needs - within reason, of course. Departure times, river routes, and the length of time for your trip, are some of the common options available while planning your cruise. Food service, entertainment and cocktails are possible available amenities, if desired.

The weather is always a mercurial guest in this part of the country, and is the primary reason that most, if not all, riverboat cruises operate only from May to October.

La Crosse Housing Market Strong in April

by Judy Gull

These are good times to be a home buyer in the great state of Wisconsin, although one could also say that these are good times to be a home seller as well, here in the lovely Mississippi River bluffs city of La Crosse.

The primary reasons for optimism come to us from the Wisconsin REALTORS® Association (WRA) and its 2013 April Home Sales Report. In summary, this statistical report shows that in spite of steadily growing home prices, housing in Wisconsin continues to be comparatively affordable.

The Wisconsin Housing Affordability Index - which measures the percentage of homes that a median income family can typically afford to purchase, given the availability of a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with a 20 percent down payment - held strong at 255 in the month of April. In comparison, the National Association of REALTORS'® (NAR's) United States Housing Affordability Index for this year's first quarter was 197.

La Crosse's median home price jumped from $127,000 in April 2012 to $149,000, an increase of more than 17 percent. This elevated sticker price did not seem to do much to temper home buyers' enthusiasm because during that same time frame, home sales in La Crosse registered a 9.5 percent rise.

WRA's 2013 April Home Sales Report also shows that although the median home price rose to $138,000 (a solid 7.8 percent price increase) the total existing home sales for the entire state during the past year saw a 9.20 percent volume increase.

  Median Price Sales
  4/13 4/12 % Change 4/13 4/12 % Change
La Crosse $149,000 $127,000 17.30% 115 105 9.50%
Statewide $138,000 $128,000 7.80% 5863 5367 9.20%

According to Renny Diedrich, the chairman of the board of directors for WRA, the upward mobility trend for La Crosse, and the state of Wisconsin in general, represented in its report is no fluke. Rather, it marks the state's 22nd consecutive month in which home sales growth was positive. Diedrich says that not only is the current pace of home sales solid, it's also sustainable, which offers us yet another encouraging sign that the United States' housing market is making a healthy recovery from its all-too-recent nosedive.

The WSA's statistical report also shows that the overall housing sales for the entire nation, in the year's first fiscal quarter, enjoyed a 9.8 percent increase. Here in America's Dairyland, home sales numbers attained an almost 12 percent jump over the figures from the first quarter in 2012.

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Contact Information

Photo of Judy Gull Real Estate
Judy Gull
RE/MAX First Choice
757 Sand Lake Road
Onalaska WI 54650
Direct: 608-781-7714
Fax: 608-783-4263