LRT construction to impact Oktoberfest, but parade route won't change
Construction of the Ion light rail transit system is forcing some changes to this year’s Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest festivities.
Next week, crews are expected to close off Frederick Street, which also runs as Benton Street, between Duke and Charles streets.
Oktoberfest president Alfred Lowrick says the closure will impact the festival in a number of ways, with one of the biggest being difficulty in getting to Hans Haus – the Benton Street building where Oktoberfest is headquartered, and where tickets, clothing and souvenirs are available for purchase.
“That’s one of the things that we’ll have to work around, as far as communication plans and telling people how to get to the store,” Lowrick said in an interview.
Other changes for this year include the Oktoberfest Haus tent normally erected as Charles and Benton being moved to the Kitchener Market property, while vendors usually set up in the same area will instead be located at Carl Zehr Square.
One thing not expected to change this year is the route of the Thanksgiving Day parade.
In 2015, construction concerns led organizers to shift part of the parade’s route off of King Street onto Weber Street, using Victoria Street to link the two.
Lowrick says the same route will be in place this year.
Although some parts of Frederick will stay closed until November, Lowrick says the intersection of King and Frederick will reopen on the Thanksgiving weekend – even if work isn’t complete.
“If it isn’t fully constructed at that point in time, they will temporarily patch the road,” he said.
“We’re assured … that we will have access to that intersection, King and Frederick, during the parade.”
Before Frederick streets closes next week, the intersection of Duke and Queen will be reopened – meaning drivers can once again use Queen to get through downtown Kitchener.
With reporting by Marc Venema