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Welcomefest begins in downtown Kitchener

A brightly coloured sign in downtown Kitchener announces the arrival of WelcomeFest on May 24, 2024. (Dan Lauckner/CTV News) A brightly coloured sign in downtown Kitchener announces the arrival of WelcomeFest on May 24, 2024. (Dan Lauckner/CTV News)
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The city of Kitchener is hosting a free two-day celebration to kick off the summer events season.

The festival is a partnership between the city, Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest and the Downtown Kitchener Business Improvement Area (BIA).

“This is a time when our community will come alive with energy, with excitement, and the vibrancy that makes Kitchener truly special,” mayor Berry Vrbanovic said during the festival’s launch this morning.

“These events are more than just entertainment. They’re opportunities for us to connect with one another, to celebrate our community’s diversity, and to appreciate the creative expressions that define our community,” he added.

Four bands will hit the main stage at city hall Friday night, starting with U.N. Jefferson from 5 p.m. – 6 p.m., followed by Caribbean Jazz ensemble Saint O from 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., The 99’s from 8 p.m. – 9 p.m., and headliner Alli Walker will wrap things up from 9:30 p.m. – 10:45 p.m.

German-Canadian music group The Golden Keys will be playing at Carl Zehr Square between many of the other acts.

K-W Oktoberfest will be tapping a keg between 6 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Chef D will be serving up tasty treats throughout the night at Carl Zehr Square in the licensed bar area.

Saturday, the Downtown Kitchener BIA will host the Palette x Palate festival from 12 p.m. – 10 p.m. Organizers call it ‘a celebration of art, music, and food in the downtown core.’ The day is expected to include interactive experiences throughout the downtown area. A full list of Palette x Palate events can be found online.

Upcoming Events

Welcomefest is also an opportunity to highlight some of the major events and musical acts that are coming to the city throughout the summer and fall, including the Canada Day festivities with April Wine and the Wayback Festival featuring Tom Cochrane.

Some of the upcoming events include:

  • June 1 | tri-Pride Summer Festival
  • June 15 | Neighbours Day porch party
  • June 22 – 23 | KW Multicultural Festival
  • July 1 | Canada Day celebrations featuring April Win open-air concert
  • July 12 | Cruising on King
  • July 17 | LoveMyHood Neighbourhood Celebration
  • July 19 – 21 | Kitchener Ribfest and Craft Beer Show
  • July 26 – 27 | Wayback Festival featuring Tom Cochrane
  • August 8 – 11 | Kitchener Blues Festival
  • August 18 | Kidspark festival
  • August 23 – 24 | Caribana Ignite
  • September 7 | Endless Summer featuring TALK
  • September 27 – October 19 | Oktoberfest

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