Kitchener-Waterloo

New Miss Oktoberfest Vanessa Buttinger says annual festival a family tradition

Kitchener native Vanessa Buttinger has been named the 2016 Miss Oktoberfest. She and her family have volunteered for the festival for many years.

Being named Miss Oktoberfest 'an incredible moment'

Vanessa Buttinger is congratulated by the other Miss Oktoberfest contestants. (@KW_Oktoberfest/Twitter)
Vanessa Buttinger remembers attending Oktoberfest events with her family growing up.
Vanessa Buttinger has been named Miss Oktoberfest 2016. (Oktoberfest)

"For me, Oktoberfest was something that has been a huge part of my family and growing up. It's just a traditional thing that I've always been a part of," the Kitchener native told The Morning Edition host Craig Norris Monday morning.

As a child, she fondly remembers the days Miss Oktoberfest and Onkle Hans would visit area schools to talk about the festival.

"I was always so excited for that day," she said.

At 19, she started volunteering with the annual festival and on Friday night, she was named the 2016 Miss Oktoberfest. She will replace outgoing Miss Oktoberfest, Holly Pearson.

"To actually hear your name called on stage is just an incredible moment," she said.

More than 100 festival events

Buttinger will attend about 100 events during Oktoberfest, then will spend the next year attending other Oktoberfest and community events as the festival's ambassador. She'll also do outreach to inform people about the festival.
That's in addition to her full-time job with Shopify Plus, which specializes in creating e-commerce software for high volume merchants including large brands such as Tesla, Oreo, Budweiser and the Los Angeles Lakers.

Buttinger recently completed her bachelor of business administration program at Wilfrid Laurier University, was a member of the Golden Hawks' cheerleading team and was president of the Lazaridis Students' Society in her third year.

She has been a member of Oktoberfest's Gemuetlichkeit committee and this year, she sits on the Oktoberfest 5K Fun Run committee.

Buttinger said she likes how much Oktoberfest does for the community, including the food drive.

Oktoberfest executive director Dave MacNeil said it was a difficult choice this year, but Buttinger seemed like the perfect fit for the role.

"The search for Miss Oktoberfest identifies someone who can represent our community and our festival," MacNeil said in a press release.

"It was a difficult decision, but through the selection process, our judges determined that Vanessa would best serve our festival and our community, as she fulfills the requirements of the role."

Miss Oktoberfest 2016 Vanessa Buttinger. (KW Miss Oktoberfest/Facebook)

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