KITCHENER – Celebrations at this year's Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest have officially come to an end, but they were different this year, for a number of reasons.
KW Oktoberfest Inc. executive director Alfred Lowrick confirms before the festival even started, there were threats from some German clubs to go their separate ways.
This comes after Bingemans went solo two years ago, to host an independent Oktoberfest.
While it’s unclear how many venues made this threat, nine halls still participated in the festival.
Lowrick says it was all resolved through discussions, where the organization decided to hire a consultant to take a closer look at the financial structure of the organization and how to better prepare for the future to prevent other clubs from leaving.
“We've offered them board positions; we're going to restructure the organization from a government’s perspective,” said Lowrick.
This year there was also a final push to fill the halls.
According to Lowrick, both Concordia and Schwaben clubs were filled without any issues, but there were discounted tickets being offered going into the final weekend as a push to fill other locations.
For its part, a spokesperson for Concordia Club says the club was very happy with Oktoberfest this year.
"We were extremely happy with the turnout at Concordia this year, with our numbers even exceeding numbers from last years’ KW INC’s 50th celebrations," says general manager Shawn MacDonald.
"In particular, our family day events had some of our best turnout numbers to-date, which was our goal as we are focused on bringing more families into the club."
MacDonald also says the club wants to continue to hvae productive conversations with KW Oktoberfest Inc.
Lowrick says one of the main halls that struggled was a new downtown Kitchener location at Elements Nightclub, largely due to marketing.
Lot 42 was also another venue that needed a push towards the end.
And after getting a lot of feedback the festival decided to bring in German beers and end their exclusive Molson deal.
Lowrick says they still need Molson on board because of the money the domestic supplier brings to the festival, but wanted to bring some German authenticity to the Bavarian celebrations.
While official ticket sale numbers not available, Lowick reassures that most fest halls were at capacity.