Oktoberfest Kitchener - Waterloo

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.


THEY ARE NOT BAVARIAN: A couple of Oktoberfest regulars enjoy the action at the Transylvania Club. Pic: Genista

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.


The Oktoberfest Kitchener-Waterloo has a full program of events. It seems like every woman, man and their dogs are catered for!
This, unbelievably, is only a partial list of shenanigans:

The official tapping of the first keg at the Kitchener City Hall on the Friday.

A free pancake breakfast in the Uptown area of Waterloo on the Saturday.

A comic keg-rolling race (also in Uptown Waterloo on the Saturday).

A treasure hunt, in which you can search the Kitchener-Waterloo area to find a key to "King Ludwig’s treasure chest". There are thousands of Canadian bucks inside.

Miss Oktoberfest in Kitchener-Waterloo.
Pic: bill_bly_ca

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

A few details

When it’s on
The Oktoberfest Kitchener Waterloo traditionally starts the Friday before the Canadian Thanksgiving and finishes the Saturday after.
Official website www.oktoberfest.ca

Click here to see my gallery of Oktoberfest Kitchener photos!

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