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Kitchener-Waterloo Ontario's Festivals Listing information, listings and links



View of Hans Haus, home to the Oktoberfest's maskot The best-known festival in the Kitchener-Waterloo area is the Oktoberfest, The festival maintains folk traditions of the many German immigrants who have settled in and around the Kitchener-Waterloo region.

The Oktoberfest is modelled after the Munich Oktoberfest, which was started in 1810 to commemorate the October 10th marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig, later "Mad" King Ludwig I of Bavaria. These days, Munich's Oktoberfest runs for 16 days ending the first Sunday in October, and attracts over 6 million visitors from around the world.

Oktoberfest also celebrates the first beer each fall, brewed from the summer's freshly harvested malt, hops and barley. Beer is served in a one-liter-tankard called Maß (pronounced "Maah-ss"). Many men attend in traditional lederhosen (leather shorts), and women attend in traditional dirndl (folk dresses), and you will see these traditions in Kitchener-Waterloo's Oktoberfest as well.

North America's largest Bavarian Festival since 1968, the Oktoberfest has grown from a weekend event in one Festhalle, to a nine day, internationally famous Festival that attracts over 700,000 participants, and is the result of hard work by 450 local volunteers. This year's Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest has over 40 family and cultural events and 17 Festhallen ("Fest-Hull-in").

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Miss Oktoberfest Pageant

Miss Oktoberfest makes over 125 appearances a year, including the Thanksgiving Day Parade, and is an ambassador for the area's unique German heritage on the national and international stage. Since 2003, the competition has been limited to young women of the Waterloo Region, and the pageant winner is announced at the Annual Oktoberfest Ball

Miss Oktoberfest Gala Ball

Friday, September 28, 2007- 6:00 pm
Bingemans (Ballroom)
The black-tie Miss Oktoberfest Gala Ball where you will enjoy a wonderful evening of celebration, which is a must-attend event of the Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest. This event kicks off the Festival, lets you meet the contestants, and witness the selection and crowning of one young woman as Miss Oktoberfest.
  • The Reception and preview of the Silent Auction begins at 6:00 pm
  • A Gourmet Dinner is set for 7:30 pm.
  • Crowning of Miss Oktoberfest
TICKETS: $125/person, from the Oktoberfest office 519-570-4267 x223

Oktoberfest Preview

Saturday, September 29 10 am - 4:30 pm
Conestoga Mall, 550 King Street N, Waterloo
Oktoberfest Preview helps boost the spirit of Oktoberfest, and is day-long fun for the whole family. Non-stop entertainment, with dancers and singers from local German clubs. See colourful event displays about the many family events. Children can enjoy the Rootbeer Garten and visit with Onkel Hans. FREE EVENT

K-W Oktoberfest Opening Ceremonies

Friday, October 5, 2007 - 11:30 am
Kitchener Civic Square, Kitchener
Trumpeters will be sound a fanfare from the rooftops for the Official Opening of the Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest, Kitchener Civic Square is bustling with pomp & ceremony, music, dancing, and thousands of revelers. Join honoured guests and dignitaries, the Oktoberfest president, the newly crowned Miss Oktoberfest, and ambassador/mascot "Onkel Hans" to kick-off the celebration and the Spirit of Gemuetlichkeit.

Stradtrat Empfang - Waterloo Opening

Waterloo Memorial Recreation Centre
101 Father David Bauer Drive, Waterloo
Thursday, October 4, 11:30 am - 1:30 pm
Waterloo Mayor and City of Waterloo Council kick-off the Oktoberfest celebrations with a mouth-watering free lunch courtesy of Pillers and Pepsi Bottling Group. Onkel Hans, Miss Oktoberfest and the Black Forest Band are on-hand to entertain you at this annual FREE EVENT.

Thanksgiving Day Parade

Monday, October 8, 2007 Starting in Uptown Waterloo - 8:30 am Everyone loves the annual Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest Thanksgiving Day Parade, with 300,000 people lining the King Street parade route. The 5 kilometre parade route extends from King and Erb streets in Waterloo to King and Cedar streets in Kitchener. Catch colourful floats, clowns and award winning marching bands from Canada and the United States, and special parade entries.

You can also watch/listen to the parade via the Oktoberfest media partners, CTV Southwestern Ontario, 105.3 KOOL FM/Oldies 1090, 96.7 CHYM FM/570 CKGL. CTV network broadcasts the parade nationwide.

Kitchener Willkommen Platz

October 5 - 13, Daily
Frederick Street (opposite Market Square), Kitchener
The heart of Oktoberfest is a "Bavarian Village" in downtown Kitchener with live FREE entertainment, displays and activities, excellent food and beverages, information, souvenirs and a Bier Garten. It provides fun for the whole family, and is open daily during the Festival. FREE ADMISSION.

Free Public Transit

On October 5, 6, 11 & 12 (Fridays & Saturdays), Kitchener - Waterloo Oktoberfest in partnership with Molson, Grand River Transit, The Region of Waterloo and the Festhallen is offering free rides (from 11:00 pm to approximately 2:30am) on the bus from various accredited Festhallen around the city. More transit information...

Oktoberfest Car Show

Saturday, October 13, 11 am - 4 pm
Willkommen Platz, Downtown Kitchener
King St. between Queen & Scott streets
The 9th Annual Oktoberfest Car Show wraps-up the final day of the festival with amazing cars filling the downtown area. See classic cars of all makes and models at and around the parking lot off of Goudies Lane (across the road from Market Square and King St between Queen & Fredrick St). Just follow the signs. 519-570-4267

Festhallen

Festhallen are 25 Bavarian-decorated buildings or tents with capacities ranging from 250 to 3,400 people. Kitchener-Waterloo's five German Clubs are very popular, but all Festhallen offer award-winning Oompah bands, Bavarian dancers, and of course, mouth-watering cuisine. Buy tickets for Festhallen in advance, so plan ahead. The Province of Ontario has enacted a no smoking law for all public facilities.

List of Festhallen
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