Online Prosit! Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest a virtual gathering
Organizers encourage people celebrate at home in their own 'fest haus'
Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest has tapped the keg for a very different celebration that spans over three weekends instead of the traditional nine days.
Organizers say the celebration can still happen at home with food from the German festhall venues and a restaurant program that includes locations in downtown Kitchener, uptown Waterloo and Belmont Village.
People can also watch live and recorded streamed Oktoberfest events that will take place on the Friday and Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend.
"Our virtual program will be running on the 9th and 10th of October. [It is] more of a celebration of Oktoberfest as we know it," said Executive Director Alfred Lowrick.
"A number of the bands will be playing. They'll have ceremonies that you would have seen with the parade. That will be part of it. There's also a culinary portion."
Oktoberfest in a box
Oktoberfest-in-a-box kits were available for the first time this year, for people hoping to turn their house into a "Fest Haus." They were so popular they sold out by Friday morning.
The kits included Bavarian-style decor, such as a beer mug, hat and pins, according to Laurie Davison, who works with festival sponsors.
"We're encouraging everyone in the community to participate safely at home with those in your bubble," said Davison.
Onkel Hans in a mask
A run of limited edition Oktoberfest pins also proved to be in high demand this year. Organizers thought that sales would be low, given that normal events at fest halls were closed.
Instead, the pins sold out the week before the Oktoberfest opening ceremony.
The limited-edition pins featured a picture of Onkel Hans in a face mask, said Lowrick.
"We ordered a thousand, figuring that's going to be a bit of a stretch," said Lowrick. "And yet in hindsight, it was probably an underestimation."