Holly jolly holidays in La Crosse


A past year’s Rotary Lights display

Jessica Schneider, Campus Life Editor

The holiday season has come to La Crosse, bringing with it a host of seasonal events. Students staying in the area over break can decide between things like light displays, Christmas concerts and holiday shopping in the area.  

The La Crosse Rotary Lights display has been going strong since 1995, and students can take part in the tradition for free. In addition to the regular Rotary Lights events, there will be an “All Abilities Night” on Monday, Nov. 28. “We will be adjusting the lights and music to accommodate individuals that may not have been able to experience the show in the past due to flashing lights and loud music,” event organizers say.  

Not only will there be light displays, but also free ice skating, carriage rides, free s’mores at the fire pits, and Santa with his reindeer. It is important to note that the ice is natural, so patrons have to wait until temperatures are consistently below freezing. Carriage rides are provided by Cinderella Carriages, and cost $20 per couple and $30 per family. Children can see Santa in the Santa House every night through Dec. 23 from 5-8 p.m.  

The Rotary Lights Christmas tunes aren’t the only music filling La Crosse this holiday season. “You could see a concert almost every night,” says long-time Viterbo local Dan Johnson. The Christmas season comes with many traditional songs—so many that some radio stations start playing their Christmas tunes Nov. 1. In that spirit, choirs all over the nation hold their own Christmas concerts in the holiday season.  In La Crosse, students can attend concerts like the “Do You Hear What I Hear” Christmas Concert at Black River Neighborhood Center on Dec. 18.  

Fans of Christmas jazz can attend “Swinging Yuletide” at University of Wisconsin La Crosse (UWL). There will be performances by the UWL Jazz Orchestra, the UWL Jazz Ensemble, and the UWL Jazz Combos. The Coulee Chordsmen and the award-winning Coulee Classic Barbershop Quartet will also be performing. According to their website, UWL’s concert will feature “arrangements of holiday classics from Ella Fitzgerald and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra.” 

For students interested in shopping for the holidays, the “2nd Annual Small Business Christmas” will be happening on Dec. 17 at Mid-Town Nutrition. With this event, students can get their holiday shopping done while also supporting a local small business. Additionally, there will be a “Holiday Pop-Up Shop” hosted by the Bittersweet Flower Market from Dec. 9-10. This event will have Christmas décor and gifts, all sourced by local artisans.  

For theatre goers, “A Christmas Carol” will be playing at UWL from Dec. 2-11 at varying times. According to UWL, “Presenting the Guthrie Theatre’s version, adapted by Barbara Field, is a UWL Theatre tradition, sure to put you in a festive spirit.” Ticket prices are $20 and are available on UWL’s website.  

On Dec. 1, the La Crosse County Library will be hosting “Cupcakes & Canvas.” This event gives patrons the opportunity to eat cupcakes and do some instructed painting. “No experience necessary,” the library says, “step-by-step instruction & all supplies provided.” The event costs $15 for library card holders, and $20 for everyone else. 

Viterbo senior Mikala Clark shared that they’ll be staying in the area for the holidays this year. When asked which of these La Crosse events they’d most like to attend, Clark said, “I love the rotary lights—they’re so much fun to walk through.” Clark expressed their joy at finding out how much holiday cheer will be available in La Crosse. “I was bummed that I wouldn’t be able to go home for Christmas this year, but now I know I have plenty I can do here for the holidays.” Readers interested in attending any of these events can go to explorelacrosse.com for more.