5 Reasons the 50th Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest will be Wunderbar!

5 Reasons the 50th Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest will be Wunderbar!5 Reasons the 50th Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest will be Wunderbar!

October 5 to 13, 2018

2018 marks the 50th anniversary of North America’s largest Bavarian festival, held annually in Waterloo Region. Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest celebrates its golden anniversary this year, and organizers are set to tap the keg on a celebration that promises to be Wunderbar!

According to Oktoberfest President Margo Jones, this year’s festival is one you won’t want to miss.  “If you’ve never experienced Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest before, the 50th anniversary is the perfect time to see why over 700,000 festers join us every year. And, if you have taken in the festival before, we’ve made some of the events that are traditional favourites bigger and better, and we’ve added new events to celebrate our milestone!”

Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest Keg Tapping 2017

Some of what’s new for this year’s festival includes the brand new festhalle known as Oktoberfesthaus that will accommodate up to 4,500 festival-goers. There’s also the 50th anniversary Porsche Boxster Dream Car Lottery that will see someone drive home a brand new 2018 Porsche Boxster black on black cabriolet from Pfaff Porsche of London and Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest.

Want to find out more? Here are 5 Reasons to add this year’s Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest to your calendar!


Dallas Smith

band members of the country group Cold Creek County

Cold Creek County

The Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest party begins early this year with a special 50th anniversary concert on Saturday, September 22nd featuring Canadian country superstars Dallas Smith and Cold Creek County. Get ready for a night that will be a little bit Country, and a little bit Rock and Roll-Out-The-Barrel!

Platinum-selling country music star, Dallas Smith and Cold Creek County will perform on stage at the Concordia Club – the iconic festhalle where Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest got its humble start 50 years ago. Included before the concert is a true festhalle experience that includes traditional German culture, German dance groups, cultural entertainers, and German foods and beverages. Tickets are on sale now, with special Early Bird pricing until September 14th.


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau taps the keg at the opening of KW Oktoberfest 2017

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tapping the keg

The keg-tapping on Friday, October 5th marks the official opening of Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest! Thousands of people head to the outdoor square at Kitchener City Hall to take in the free opening ceremony festivities (and to show off their favourite pair of lederhosen or dirndl!)

Special guests and dignitaries will be on hand, including Canada’s King of Polka, Walter Ostanek, who will lead a chorus of 50 accordion players as the keg is tapped to open the 50th anniversary in style! After the keg tapping, head over to the official Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest retail store to stock up on everything from Oktoberfest souvenirs, hats and feathers, to steins and festhalle tickets.

Canada's Polka King, Walter Ostanek

Canada’s Polka King, Walter Ostanek


Onkel Hans Float at the KW Oktoberfest Thanksgiving Day Parade

Photo Credit: John Van Tran Photography

There’s a reason this nationally-televised Thanksgiving Day Parade annually attracts over 150,000 spectators to its 5 km parade route: with its colourful floats, dancers, clowns, and award winning marching bands from Canada and the United States, it’s no wonder taking in the parade has become a Thanksgiving tradition for many families.

This year’s parade will be ever bigger and better for the 50th anniversary celebrations! There will be new floats, and a number of new marching bands, including one called the OktoberCorps. This band, formed specifically for Oktoberfest’s 50th anniversary parade, consists of 300 past and present drum and bugle corps members who promise to wow the crowds with their marching precision and massive sound!

You need to be up early to catch this parade; it begins at 8:45 a.m. on October 8th, but regular attendees will have their favourite vantage points staked out long before then! For the best view, there are a limited number of reserved parade-side bleacher seats available for purchase. You can check out the parade route here.

Burlington Teen Tour Band performing in the Kitchener Waterloo Oktoberfest Thanksgiving Day Parade

Burlington Teen Tour Band


Motorcyclists from across Ontario are invited to be part of Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest’s first-ever Ride, Dine N’ Stein event on October 6th. It’s an afternoon of entertainment, good food and cheer, as motorcycles line the streets of UpTown Waterloo.

In the evening, participants will enjoy a VIP experience that includes admission to Oktoberfest’s newest festhalle, Oktoberfesthaus! While you’re there, enjoy an authentic German dinner, beer and entertainment. Transportation will also be included back to your hotel if you’re staying overnight in the region. To get in on this Full Throttle experience, head to the Oktoberfest website!

motorcycles lined up in a row


In German, the word ‘gemütlichkeit’ loosely translated means a feeling of friendliness and fun. And during Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest there’s no better place to find the spirit of gemütlichkeit than at Willkommen Platz in downtown Kitchener! This Oktoberfest hub is located just outside of Kitchener City Hall, and will be buzzing with excitement for the entire family every day of the opening weekend of the festival, with entertainment, displays and activities.

view of the large crowd at Kitchener City Hall for KW Oktoberfest opening ceremonies 2017

Opening Day crowds at Willkommen Platz

And this year, Rogers Hometown Hockey joins Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest in Willkommen Platz from October 5th to 7th. This free family-friendly hockey celebration features three days of live entertainment, NHL alumni, local celebrities and hockey-themed activities for all ages, culminating with a live NHL broadcast featuring the Toronto Maple Leafs and Chicago Blackhawks. Ziggy Zaggy Ziggy Zaggy HOCKEY HOCKEY HOCKEY!!!

DYK: Hometown Hockey host Ron MacLean was actually born in Germany?

Alfred Lowrick and Ron MacLean tap the keg at the 2015 KW Oktoberfest opening ceremonies

Photo Credit: Sylvia Pond Photography

The plans for an amazing 50th anniversary celebration are in place; now all that’s missing is You! For a complete list of events and for tickets, head to Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest.