Oktoberfest a good way to experience K-W culture
The year was 1810 in the city of Munich, Germany. It was a landmark year, as it is believed to have created the origins of Oktoberfest. It took over a hundred years, but in 1969 the Bavarian festival of Oktoberfest was brought to Kitchener-Waterloo.
The K-W region was founded upon a rich German heritage, as Kitchener was originally named Berlin. The founders of the cities borrowed from their Bavarian traditions and re-created the two-week long festival at the Concordia Club in Kitchener.
The festival was more about celebrating local heritage and German culture than drinking excessively in a hockey arena.
With just $200 to its name, the festival volunteers got support from the local German clubs as well as the official tourism office in Munich. In its first year about 75,000 visitors came and it was an instant success.
Since its inception, the popularity of the fall festival has only increased. It is now among the largest on the planet. However, many people, primarily students, neglect to realize there is more to the event than drinking gallons of beer and sporting a feathered hat.
The nine-day event has over 40 family and cultural events, including the Thanksgiving Day parade, and family day at the Concordia club in which you can play games, eat traditional food and learn Bavarian dances. With an incredible amount of community support, it now offers the ability to engage with and explore a new culture.
The success of Oktoberfest in Kitchener-Waterloo demonstrates the potential for people to appreciate and celebrate Canada’s multi-cultural landscape.
It gives students the opportunity to experience something outside the usual top 40 playing clubs, a privilege many other students do not have.
With the excitement of another Oktoberfest year at its peak, it’s worthwhile to acknowledge the rich cultural history of the event and recognize the potential to explore K-W’s many other multicultural celebrations.
Of course, lifting a beer mug and saying “prosit!” will always be a large part of the festival, it’s just important to remember there’s more to it than that.
–The Cord Editorial Board