You heard us correctly, Kitchener Waterloo is home to the second largest Oktoberfest in the world! This is probably thanks to our strong German heritage. A large percentage of the population has German roots, and Kitchener in fact used to be named Berlin! In celebration of that heritage, the enormous Oktoberfest celebrations were born.
What to do during Oktoberfest
○Visit one or several of the 17 festhallen spread across K-W. What’s not to love? Of course, German beer is a huge part of the festivities, but it certainly doesn’t stop there! Dancing, traditional German songs and outfits (laderhosen, anyone?) and activities such as a dunk tank keep the fun going all night! Plus, it would be almost impossible to visit one of these festhallen without sampling a pretzel or some Oktoberfest sausage.
○Eat! What more needs to be said? Grab some free pancakes and sausages to start off your Oktoberfest experience. Head to Bingemans Kool Haus Tent October 7th bright and early to catch some delicious breakfast before it’s all gone! For late risers, check out Oktoberfeast, a huge food truck event on King Street by Kitchener City Hall. Finally, don’t let Oktoberfest pass you by without trying a delicious soft pretzel, schnitzel, or sauerkraut!
○Participate in a sporting event. Choose from the Oktoberfest golf experience, the 5K fun run, and the Tour de Hans. The Tour de Hans has both a 50k and 100k option, so you can cycle at your preferred level.
○Watch the Thanksgiving Day parade. Not only are we home to the second largest Oktoberfest in the world, but we also boast the largest Thanksgiving parade in Canada! Buy bleacher seats, drag some lawn chairs to the roadside, or watch from your window if you’re lucky enough to be right on the parade route.
○Watch the keg tap at the opening ceremonies. Head down to Carl Zehr Square on Friday, October 6th to witness the excitement! Attending the opening ceremonies is completely free, and you may just get a taste of the music and dancing you’ll be in store for at festhallen throughout the week.
○Participate in a barrel race. What is a barrel race? Head to Uptown Waterloo on October 14th to find out! Each team consists of 4 people who race relay-style while rolling a barrel. It’s just as hilarious as it sounds, and there are great prizes from Uptown Waterloo businesses to be won.
There are 17 fantastic festhallen to choose from! Each offers its own unique experience, with different bands and atmospheres. Our personal favourites include Concordia Club and Hubertushaus! However, we doubt you could go wrong with any of these great locations.
Grab your laderhosen, don your drinking cap, and get ready to celebrate in Kitchener-Waterloo this October 6th-14th!