The biggest Oktoberfest celebration outside of Germany, the well-loved Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest is back for another year of beer, food, and fun events throughout the twin cities.
This year’s Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest is shaping up to be bigger than ever, with a host of cultural and entertainment events scheduled to take place throughout the week. Entering its 51st year, the nine-day festival will be running from Friday, October 11th to Saturday, October 19th.
Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest is largely centred on venues known as festhalls, which are operated by various German clubs based in the twin cities. The festhalls will be serving beer and traditional Bavarian foods throughout Oktoberfest. They will also be hosting traditional dances and music, as well as nightly ticketed events.
The festhalls officially taking part in this year’s Oktoberfest celebrations are Alpine Club, Altes Muenchen Haus, Bayerisches Haus, Chicopee Haus, Concordia Club, Hubertushaus, Transylvania Haus, Schwaben Club, Oktoberfesthaus, Oberkrainer Haus, and Koenigstrasse Garten.
In addition to the nonstop festivities going on at the festhalls, there are a wide variety of individual Oktoberfest events scheduled to take place throughout Kitchener-Waterloo. These events have become an equally important part of the festival over the years. There are over 40 unique family and cultural activities happening at Oktoberfest this year, ensuring that there is something for everyone to take part in.
Everything kicks off at 11:15 am on October 11th with the Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest opening ceremonies at Kitchener City Hall. This free event will include the annual keg tapping, festive music, German dance performances, and plenty of food and drink to enjoy.
The next day, there will be an Oktoberfest Family Breakfast at Bingemans on Bingeman Centre Drive in Kitchener. Breakfast starts at 7:30 am and will include pancakes, sausages, apple cider, and Tim Hortons coffee. Admission is free but donations to the Food Bank of Waterloo Region will be gladly accepted.
Once you’ve finished up with breakfast, head over to the Waterloo Public Square at 11 am for the Uptown Waterloo Great Oktoberfest Barrel Race, one of the most popular events of the festival. Teams of four will be facing one another in keg races and competing for a chance to win prizes and all sorts of sponsored goodies. Spectating is free and registration is $40 per team.
Another must-attend event during Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest is the annual Oktoberfest Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade is scheduled to start at 8:30 am on October 14th. It begins at Weber and Frederick Street in Kitchener and will continue down Weber Street to Bridgeport Road. Over 100,000 people line the streets every year to watch the exciting parade of floats, bands, and traditional dancers.
Since it was first held in 1969 at the Concordia Club, Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest has grown from a small, local event to a world-famous festival that attracts close to three-quarters of a million people to the Kitchener-Waterloo area every year. Organizers work hard to maintain the traditions that made the festival great while expanding to offer new and exciting events every year.
Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest is an event that you want to experience at least once. After you do, chances are that you’ll want to return again and again. While in large part a festival of beer, there will be plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy as well.