A guide to the Oktoberfest Kitchener-Waterloo
in Ontario, Canada
North America’s biggest Oktoberfest belts its way through nine days in the Canadian twin cities of Kitchener-Waterloo.
Kitchener-Waterloo has sturdy German roots as many of the area’s original settlers were German-speaking Mennonites from Pennsylvania.
Kitchener was even called Berlin until anti-German sentiment prompted a name-change in 1916, during World War I.
Needless to say this sentiment is a long time gone and many locals not only claim but celebrate their German heritage.
The Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest was started in 1969 after a group of organizers saw the event celebrated by Kitchener’s Concordia Club.
Concordia Club, the Schwaben Club and the Alpine Club.
The Oktoberfest Kitchener-Waterloo happens thanks to support of not-for-profit groups and volunteers. Over 1500 volunteers get in on the act each year and typically raise $1.5 million for the area’s not-for-profit groups.
MARCH: A young woman takes part in the Oktoberfest parade in Kitchener. Pic: spaceamoeba
The most recognizable mascot is a crazy lookin’ fella called Onkel Hans, who bears a beer stein and a sausage.
He wears big, red, lederhosen. Onkel Hans is sometimes joined by Tante Frieda (Auntie Frieda), who wears a traditional Dirndl dress.
A huge deal is made about the Miss Oktoberfest, one of the region’s best and brightest young ladies.
Though there used to be a televised beauty pageant, Miss Oktoberfest is now chosen by a closed panel of judges and crowned at the Miss Oktoberfest Gala Ball.
▪ Miss Oktoberfest Gala Ball - a popular black-tie ball that culminates with the crowning of Miss Oktoberfest.
▪ Oktoberfest Idol - a talent quest which takes place at the Conrad Centre for the Performing Arts.
▪ A rock concert called “Rocktoberfest” takes place at the Queensmont Arena on the Sunday. During the Oktoberfest the arena is renamed “Altes Muenchen Haus”- Old Munich House.
▪ The Hip-Hoptoberfest has Canadian hip-hop acts performing at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium. That’s renamed the “Karlsberghaus” for the Oktoberfest Kitchener Waterloo.
▪ So You Think You Can Tanz – A dance competition put on by the local German dance groups at the Alpine Club.
▪ Dogtoberfest – Competitions and games for families with dogs.
▪ Thanksgiving Day Parade – Canada’s biggest Thanksgiving parade winds its way through the streets of Kitchener and Waterloo. The parade is televised across Canada and regularly attracts more than 150,000 visitors
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