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Sunday, September 24, 2017

Tapping into Oktoberfest fun in Kitchener-Waterloo and area



   One-Tank Trip for Sept. 23/17

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest is certainly “wunderbar.”
   They’re about to roll out the barrels (of beer) for Canada’s great Bavarian festival from Oct. 6 to 14, the biggest outside of Munich, Germany.
Prime Minster Justin Trudeau taps the first keg of beer to launch last year’s Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest. (Sylvia Pond Photography from K-W Oktoberfest)
   Everyone is willkommen (welcome) and a visitor’s guide to this annual beer bash (not forgetting the cultural activities, too) should list Ein Prosit as its anthem.
   The rallying call for this Bavarian drinking song anthem is usually preceded by the unusual but familiar chant of “zicke zacke, zicke zacke, hoi, hoi, hoi.”
   Loosely translated, it means “down the hatch,” as revellers chug their beer and finish it off with a round of polkas before roaring into another rousing chorus.
Ein Prosit! (Writer Jim Fox) Photo by Barbara Fox
   As well, leading the revellers in the chicken dance oom-pah song (doing the polka while imitating chickens) is Onkel Hans, a huge orange-costumed mascot wearing a Prosit hat.
   Among the 700,000 annual celebrants for last year bash was Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
   He tapped the keg to open the 48th annual event and was joined by Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, local and regional politicians and event dignitaries including Miss Oktoberfest.
Bottoms up at K-W Oktoberfest. (Jim Fox photo)
   “During this nine-day celebration, you will have a chance to experience the rich German heritage of our founders in our increasingly vibrant, energetic city (originally called Berlin),” said Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic.

   Festhall party central
   Join the fun at 13 German-Canadian clubs, called festhallen, featuring music, food and culture that are at the heart of this festival.
   Expect to see men in lederhosen (leather shorts), suspenders and felt hats adorned with pins and huge feathers while women are smartly dressed in dirndls – dresses with flowing skirts.
   Along with pilsners to wash down traditional German cuisine, there’s some culture, too, with more than 40 family and cultural events.
Dancers show their stuff at a festhall. (K-W Oktoberfest photo)
   “Children can experience Cook like Oma as they learn to prepare and bake their own pretzels,” said Margo Jones, Oktoberfest president.
   “Have your picture taken with Miss Oktoberfest, Onkel Hans, Tante Frieda and the Steiner brothers, Ziggy unt Zaggy.

   Tasty treats
   “Tempt your taste buds with various Bavarian culinary specialities throughout the festhallen including apple strudel, sauerkraut, schnitzel, rollbraten and, of course, Oktoberfest sausage,” she added.
   In the spirit of Gemutlichkeit (good times), on Oct. 6 at 11 a.m., outside Kitchener City Hall will be pomp and ceremony, music and dancing, and the enthusiasm of thousands of revellers eager to kick-off the 2017 fest.
Oktoberfest mascot Onkel Hans revs up the crowd at the Thanksgiving Day Parade (K-W Oktoberfest photo).
   The Oktoberfest Thanksgiving Day Parade on Oct. 9, starting at 8:30 a.m., will feature 120 floats, bands and costumed characters making their way from Weber and Frederick streets in Kitchener.
   About 150,000 people line a five-kilometre route through the Twin Cities for the parade.
   Popular events on closing day, Oct. 14, are a beer barrel race, food truck feast and a car show.
   The origins of Oktoberfest celebrations began with festivities to celebrate a wedding in Bavaria 207 year ago of King Ludwig and Therese von Sachsen-Hildenburghausen.
   Miss Oktoberfest contestants are ready to party in their dirndls. (K-W Oktoberfest photo)
   In 1969, the founding fathers of Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest recreated this Bavarian tradition and now about $1.5 million is raised annually to assist not-for-profit organizations.
   For more information, go to: oktoberfest.ca or call 1-888-294-HANS



   Bottoms up
   Bingemans is offering a custom Munich-style beer brewed especially for it Kool Haus festhall.
   Created by Waterloo Brewing, Waterloo Festbier is crafted in the traditional Bavarian Marzenbier style with a rich toastiness and dark copper colour “that will knock your knee-high socks off,” said president Mark Bingeman.
   Also available are the tastes of Hacker-Pschorr and Paulaner, two authentic German brews produced by Waterloo Brewing. bingemans.com

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Jim Fox can be reached at onetanktrips@hotmail.com
For more One-Tank Trips: http://1tanktrips.blogspot.ca

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