KITCHENER -- Despite a number of pandemic-related adjustments being made, the KW Oktoberfest has managed to still be a big hit in the area.

Executive director Alfred Lowrick says the response the 52nd annual event has blown them away.

“It’s been overwhelming in the last couple of days,” he said. “A lot of people interested, the brand is still really strong, and that’s what’s really interesting and helpful for us as we plan for next year.”

Oktoberfest in a Box, which included an authentic German beer stein and signature mask, as well as 1,500 tradition pins with Onkel Hans also donning a mask, were both big hits and helped raise money for the food bank.

“We had such an outcry of demand for the pins that we’re going to put in another request,” said Lowrick. “They’ll probably be coming in December.”

Restaurants in the area were also taking part by transforming into micro-festhallen hubs.

The Daily Grill is just one of many locations offering Oktoberfest favourites like sausage, cabbage rolls, schnitzel, turkey, and stuffing.

“Since Oktoberfest has been put on hold because of COVID-19, we thought we’d try and provide an experience,” said Daily Grill owner Chris Frengos. “I always want to help people and be a part of the community. I want to help give back.

“Giving something like this gets people forgetting about the bad times.”

Adam Cole, manager of Kentucky Bourbon and Barbecue, says they’re happy to be involved, but hopes everything is back to normal next year so they can get out to party.