Kitchener-Waterloo is the biggest party in town. In fact, it is believed to be the largest Oktoberfest in the world outside Munich, where all things Oktoberfest first began.
The numbers are astonishing. New KW Oktoberfest Inc. President Harry Vogt says that over 700,000 people will attend the nine-day event, October 11-19, 2013. About 150,000 are expected to line the parade route for the traditional Oktoberfest Thanksgiving Day Parade, and up to 2 million will see the parade on CTV.
And Flanagan Foodservice will be involved from the tapping of the keg to the final toast. Flanagan's CEO Dan Flanagan says, "Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest is one of the biggest festivals in North America, a terrific celebration of culture and entertainment, and Flanagan Foodservice is delighted to be a major sponsor and supplier to this important event. We know that this year's Oktoberfest will truly be even bigger and better, and we commend the organizers and volunteers for all of their work in putting together this award-winning event."
Vogt agrees that the Festival is improving, every year. This October, there will be new family and cultural events, and a new Festhall. In all, the nine days will include 40 events, and the newest Festhall, in the Turret at Wilfrid Laurier University, brings the Festhall total to 19. The Turret Festhall will stage a new, all-ages Festhall event, which Vogt says is "very exciting."
The new President believes that Waterloo Region has "re-embraced" Oktoberfest. After a period in which local residents seemed less interested in the festival, he says, the last six years have seen a significant resurgence in local attendance; last year, during the final weekend of Oktoberfest, there were no seats available in any of the Festhalls. "Our local community realizes what Oktoberfest does for the community." And once again, they are getting involved in the festival and in the celebrations.
Vogt points out that Oktoberfest is the number one tourist attraction in the region, and he quotes figures suggesting that the nine-day event brings $22.2 million into the community, and provides the equivalent of 186 full-time jobs. That doesn't count the thousands of volunteers in the Festhalls, charity events, and 480 who volunteer directly for the Oktoberfest organization.
It's a great party, a huge community celebration, a cultural event on an international scale—and a festival that Flanagan is proud and happy to be a part of.
For more information on Oktoberfest visit www.oktoberfest.ca.