Concordia’s Wednesday night as lively as Oktoberfest weekend events

With 2011 marking my third year of Bavarian celebrations, I started this Oktoberfest season searching for something more than the typical beer-swigging student hangout ⎯ I wanted something authentic.

Heading to a venue that celebrates German culture and cuisine all year long, I was convinced that if any place offered the real Oktoberfest experience, it would be Concordia Club.

Walking into the tent at 8:30 p.m., I was pleasantly surprised not to be greeted with a line; everyone was already here.

An impressive turnout for a Wednesday night, the 4,000-person capacity tent was certainly close to full. Hosting a crowd comprised mainly of university students, I was happy with my choice to come on Wednesday, Oct. 12 for $10 a ticket, compared to $15 for Thursday, $21 for Friday and $25 for Saturday.

The layout of Concordia featured a stage and dance floor in the center of the tent, surrounded by rows of picnic tables for the thousands of guests, with alcohol stands on the outskirts.

Concordia’s serving choices of beer, as well as wine and liquor offered a nice variety for the crowd. The prices were somewhat standard, $7.50 for a 20oz pint, $5.50 for a mixed drink and pitchers under $20.

Unfortunately, for the thirsty student, getting a drink was not always easy. To buy a regular pint, or drink, you go to the bar with drink tickets. But if you want a pitcher, you must wait for a server to come take your order. As I stared hazy-eyed around the busy room, flagging down a waitress seemed completely ridiculous considering we were 20 feet away from a bar that already had 30 + poured pitchers on it.

Entertaining the Concordia crowd was The Black Forest Band. A group that has been performing together since 1981, the liveliness of this polka band created an upbeat mood and reminded patrons that the purpose of this event is to celebrate German culture in Kitchener-Waterloo.

Food unfortunately did not live up to the same authenticity. Dreaming of real German schnitzel, I think my standards were unrealistic for the mass-produced Schneider’s food at Oktoberfest. Although, it was probably the most effective way to serve food to such a large crowd, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed that Concordia’s meal options were the same as other Oktoberfest venues. With prices ranging from $6 to $14, I settled for a $6 schnitzel on a bun.

Concordia’s incorporation of carnival games was a fun alternative for attendees looking to take a break from beer and polka. With friendly (and tolerant venders) activities included darts, basketball and even a teepee toss.

I’ll admit that although I started out on a mission for authenticity, my favourite part of the night was something that I’ve experienced at other Oktoberfest events.

Polka dancing with strangers, or creating a massive flip-cup game down an entire row of picnic tables, the typical beer swigging student hangout at Concordia offers the fun mixture of university and German culture ⎯ why try to improve upon a classic?

Want to read more about Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest events? Check out The Cord’s reviews of Bingemans, the Kitchener Auditorium and Queensmount.

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