Kitchener’s Waterloo Oktoberfest will return for the 53rd time starting September 24th, with three weekends of face-to-face and virtual events before it ends on Thanksgiving Monday.
The traditional barrel tapping ceremony will take place at the official opening of the event. It is rounded off with a virtual Oktoberfest Thanksgiving Day Parade
Executive Director Alfred Lowrick says the festival made some concessions for COVID-19 protocols, but there are some new surprises this year.
“We have something new this year called the WunderWagon,” said Lowrick. “We have a moving stage platform leading to various restaurants and community centers through KW and Cambridge in September and October, providing Oktoberfest entertainment for the citizens of Waterloo.”
The original nine-day festival had over $ 22 million in economic benefits. But Lowrick noted last year and this year those numbers will be drastically different
The region’s festival halls offer programs during the three-week event. Several restaurants are also transformed into micro-festival halls and offer entertainment and Bavarian cuisine.
Pin honors healthcare workers
Frontline health workers are honored at this year’s KW Oktoberfest pin, while mascot Uncle Hans is accompanied by caricatures of health professionals all wearing masks.
Lowrick said he anticipates the pin will be as popular in 2021 as it was last year.
“This will be available for purchase on our website. And it celebrates our frontline healthcare workers,” said Lowrick.
“A portion of the pin sales go to the Oktoberfest Cares Fund, which supports the Grand River Hospital and Uncle Hans Food Drive. These pins will go on sale Thursday at 10am and we’ll likely sell out later. “