Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest is an annual nine-day festival. Based on the original German Oktoberfest it is billed as Canada's Greatest Bavarian Festival. It is held every October, starting on the Friday before Thanksgiving and running until the Saturday after and attracts an estimated 750,000-1,000,000 visitors every year
Who is that big, lovable orange guy you've seen around the festival? Onkel Hans is the Official Mascot of Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest and a Goodwill Ambassador to communities all across North America. As the mascot of Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest you will see his smiling face on buttons, pins, t-shirts, brochures, steins and other souvenirs.
Single events that take place over the week include:
- Opening ceremonies - include an official keg tapping to start the festival; at Kitchener City Hall (Friday)
- Pancake breakfast - free breakfast for all comers, in Uptown Waterloo (Saturday)
- Barrel Race - keg-rolling race in Uptown (Saturday)
- Rocktoberfest - major concert featuring rock acts, as well as more traditional music; Queensmount Arena (Altes Muenchen Haus), Kitchener (Sunday)
- Hip-Hoptoberfest - a spinoff of Rocktoberfest featuring hip hop acts that takes place at The Aud (Karlsberghaus)
- University Nights - a night for local University students run by the local fraternities. Buses run all night from University Avenue in Waterloo to the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium, where the event takes place. Traditionally, WLU's night is on Thursday and UW's is on the Friday of the second weekend, however both nights attract students from both schools, as well as other nearby colleges.
- Oktoberfest Parade - bands, traditional dancers, floats and revelry, down King Street in both cities; broadcast nationally by CTV (Thanksgiving Monday)
- "Dogtoberfest" - games and competitions for families with dogs, operated by the KW Humane Society.
- "Pridetoberfest" - the first in an annual activity held in 2006. The event is to celebrate the Gay Pride of Kitchener-Waterloo with Oktoberfest, hosted at The Aud.
- "Muchtoberfest" - an event promoted by Conestoga College in association with Much Music television, for college Oktoberfest night. Held on the Thursday of Oktoberfest.
Festhalls and Clubs:
- The Alpine Club of Kitchener.
- The Concordia Club of Kitchener, the largest ethnic German club in Canada.
- Hubertushaus, operated by the German-Canadian Hunting & Fishing Club
- The Schwaben Club of Kitchener.
- The Transylvania Club of Kitchener.