Kitchener-Waterloo is very proud to host the second largest Oktoberfest in the world, surpassed only by the celebrations in Munich! The annual festival kicks off Friday before Thanksgiving and extends until the following Saturday night. The city is home to a large population of German Canadians and the pride is everywhere. The city is awash in all things German including lederhosen, dirndl’s, pretzels, schnitzel and beer!
There are many highlights to the festival but for me it has to be the parade. Held on Thanksgiving day, the parade will draw up to 100,000 people! It’s a great event for families and children and a great chance to see iconic Oncle Hans. Oncle Hans is the festival mascot and is a German man with a giant head dressed in traditional German lederhosen. This year Ron Maclean from Hockey Night in Canada was the parade grand marshal.
The centre of adult entertainment is certainly the beer halls better known as Festhallen. Five German Canadian clubs run the Festhallen and it’s a great place to experience German polka music, party and have a good time. The most famous Beer Hall is Concordia which I highly recommend visiting. The biggest nights of the year would be the first Friday and last Saturday at Concordia Club. Good luck securing tickets!
One impressive event in the Oktoberfest schedule is Techtoberfest. This event pays homage to the considerable start-up and technology talent in Waterloo Region. Venture capitalists, technology icons and speakers from Silicone Valley and across the world will participate and visit. What could be a better way to kick off your start-up than to meet an investor over a pint?
Oktoberfest is a wonderful time of year in Kitchener-Waterloo. Make it a point to join the celebrations.