K-W Oktoberfest 2019 kicks off at new downtown location

The opening ceremony for K-W Oktoberfest got underway Friday morning​​​​​, with German bands and dance groups, children's entertainment and the ceremonial keg tapping.

King Street from Frederick Street to Kitchener City Hall closed for two days of Oktoberfest concerts

Tim Beckett (left), president of K-W Oktoberfest, along with Kitchener mayor Berry Vrbanovic (right) team up to tap the keg. (Julianne Hazlewood/CBC)

Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest's opening ceremony Friday morning​​​​​ featured German bands and dance groups, children's entertainment and the ceremonial keg tapping.

Instead of being held in front of Kitchener's city hall, the stage for the keg tapping was set up at King Street and Frederick Street, complete with a beer garden. The location change features more of the downtown core and establishes a new festival kickoff venue in advance of planned construction closer to city hall, according to organizers.

Jessie Kumer's dance and music troupe Mladi Glas Planika won a competition last year that allowed them to perform at the Oktoberfest festivities.

Miss Oktoberfest Erin Wetzel also made an appearance at the opening ceremonies.

Two-year-old James Shantz, has already been to three Oktoberfests (he was only a couple weeks old at his first one!).

The crowd was filled with several young families, including the Higgins's, who walked over since they live just down the road.

Darin Farrelly, David Ristou and Joseph De Croos decided to the day off to enjoy the festivities.

The event will run on King Street from Frederick Street  to Carl Zehr Square at Kitchener City Hall.

The downtown enclosure and street promenade is being called Willkommen Platz and features two days of concerts on Friday and Saturday, as well as a beer garden, which Norm Veevers was already enjoying at lunchtime.

The Oktoberfest Thanksgiving Day parade will make its way from Weber and Frederick Streets though Kitchener, into Waterloo and conclude at Weber Street and Bridgeport Road on Monday.