Prost! Oktoberfest 2020 officially kicks off
KITCHENER -- Time to take out your dirndl, lederhosen and feathered cap.
The opening ceremony was held Friday for Oktoberfest 2020.
From the delivery of the keg to the keg tapping itself everything about the 2020 KW Oktoberfest festival is going to be different.
Organizers say they have been preparing for an unprecedented year due to the pandemic. No big crowds and no big parties. But, they are trying to look at the limitations as an opportunity to restructure.
This year’s festival is starting two weeks earlier than normal, and will run for over three weekends.
“COVID-19 has really provided us an opportunity to really look at how we can reshape the festival into something different. it would have been easy to have cancelled this festival but it was important to the community that this went on,” said festival President Tim Beckett.
With new gathering restrictions for indoor and outdoor events, the already limited festival is facing what could be an even greater financial impact on the participating local German clubs and restaurants.
“It’s going to be tough for everyone, I mean the pandemic has been hard on everybody financially. We’re doing everything we can to help support local, support our partners, support our people in our region the best way we can,” said festival vice president Scott Henderson.
Only time will tell if the virtual version of Oktoberfest helps keep the spirit of the festival alive. Although the traditional FESThall atmosphere is a big draw organizers say there's so much more to it.
“It’s not just beer, it's not just pretzels, it's not just polka - honestly it's us celebrating our community together in October,” said Henderson.
Festival organizers say they are counting on community support to carry them through 2020, and have already started plans for 2021.
From Oct. 9 to Oct. 10, a livestreaming event will be held for those who want to celebrate the spirit of Gemütlichkeit at home. Details can be found on the website for Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest.
One of the most anticipated events of the festival is the annual Thanksgiving Day parade. This year’s event has been cancelled, but a special broadcast will air on CTV News Kitchener on Monday, Oct. 12 starting at noon.