Kitchener-Waterloo

Wunderbar! Oktoberfest kicks off with physically distanced keg tapping

Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest kicked off Friday with a keg tapping at noon. Only local dignitaries and essential staff were allowed on-site, and the keg was flown in by a helicopter.

Celebrations will continue over the next three weekends

The 2020 Oktoberfest kicked off Friday with a keg tapping at the Region of Waterloo International Airport. (Mallory Manchur/Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest)

Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest kicked off Friday with a keg tapping, with just a few people in the audience to cheer it on. 

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the event was live-streamed online but was only open to local Oktoberfest officials and dignitaries.

The keg was flown in via helicopter and rappelled down the tarmac during the event held at Region of Waterloo International Airport. 

Local officials appeared by video, urging people to enjoy the festivities safely while following COVID-19 protocols.

"This year we'll be celebrating a little bit differently, and I encourage you to stay in your social bubble," said regional chair Karen Redman. "Enjoy the online entertainment or some of the micro-festhallen restaurants. Get your tracht on and keep our economy going."

Distanced events

This is the 52nd year for the annual Bavarian festival. Oktoberfest organizers announced last month the festival was moving to an online format, meaning no parade or festhalls this year.

The festival will run over three weekends from Friday to Oct. 12. It will also include two days of free, live-streamed events with music and dancing.

There will also be "micro-FESThallen" events running in local restaurants, where entertainment and Bavarian-themed food specials and beer pairings will take place to help support local businesses.

"We can't be together but we can still Prost from afar," the festival says on its website.

Missed the opening ceremonies? Watch them here:

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