‘Prosit’: Keg-tapping kicks off 45th Oktoberfest

Photo by Jody Waardenburg
Photo by Jody Waardenburg

The official Oktoberfest keg-tapping took place last Friday in front of  Kitchener city hall, celebrating the event’s 45th year. Hundreds of people walked around Downtown Kitchener, dressed in traditional Bavarian attire. There was food, music, dancing – and a whole lot of beer.

“It’s a celebration of Bavarian culture but it’s also a chance for the Waterloo Region to get together and have some fun,” said Amy Carroll, a first-time volunteer, who spent the day selling sausages to raise money for the Ontario Food Bank.

Her group sold over 2,000 sausages throughout the day.

Aside from its charitable intentions, Oktoberfest is celebrated by various groups.

While its lively night scene appeals to Waterloo’s large student demographic, Oktoberfest’s daytime activities are extremely family-oriented.

The Thanksgiving Parade, which took place Monday afternoon, is another major Oktoberfest event that draws large crowds of regional residents. This year, over 150,000 spectators lined the streets of Kitchener for the annual event.

“It’s a great time. There are so many things for the family throughout the day,” said Heidi Peller-Oliver, another volunteer who has been celebrating Oktoberfest for fifteen years.

She went on to explain that Oktoberfest is unique because it caters to such a wide range of people.

“The days are full of family fun and the nights are full of great parties for adults,” she said.  “I told a lot of friends about it and they all joined in on the Bavarian spirit.”

Kitchener city hall was decorated with streamers, posters and  an inflatable beer can for the celebratory kick-off.

“The tapping is the start of Oktoberfest for most of us here in Kitchener,” said Dane Hunter, a participant who has been attending Oktoberfest events since he was seven-years-old. “I love Oktoberfest because it’s a time I get to go out with my friends and family to have a beer and some food; it’s great.”

The festival originated in Bavaria on Oct.10,1810. Today the fair is celebrated all over the world. Kitchener-Waterloo  hosts the second largest celebration of Oktoberfest in the world, falling second to Germany.
Oktoberfest runs until Oct. 19.

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