Parading uptown

On Thanksgiving morning, thousands gathered along King Street through Waterloo and Kitchener to watch the annual Oktoberfest parade that featured 30 floats and 14 marching bands.

The parade is one of many family-friendly events that brings the community together during the festival.

“It’s a very busy week, but its all about the culture of this community, the family and the children, and just celebrating Thanksgiving and Oktoberfest,” said Waterloo mayor Brenda Halloran at the festival’s opening ceremony last Thursday.

Megan Reid, 11, who watched the parade Uptown with her brother Carson, 8, said that she preferred the music and marching bands over the floats.

Gerry Howse, attending the parade with his friends and family, including his 4-year-old granddaughter Olivia, told The Cord that he has attended the every year without fail.

“It’s a very good parade,” said Howse, just as Olivia pointed out a passing float with excitement.

To push the float-designing abilities of the sponsors involved, floats competed for seven awards given by a judging panel. Schneider Foods won the Festival Award, and was named the best float in the parade.

For the first time in parade history, onlookers could text in their vote for the People’s Choice Float.

Out of the 25 contestants, the Moonshine Band’s float sponsored by the UpTown Waterloo Business Improvement Area received the award.

As any Oktoberfest event, it could not be complete without the enthusiastic participation of Onkel Hans, the official festival mascot.

Prior to the parade, Onkel Hans along with community volunteers took part in a 5 km run down the parade route in support of the Home Caregiver’s Programme.

The parade marked the continual success of the festival in bringing together the community and supporting a good cause.

–With files from Jacqueline Hovius