Oktoberfest Needs You! Have you ever thought about the logistics of hosting over hundreds of thousands of Festival-goers during a multi-weekend international Festival promoting the spirit of Gemütlichkeit?

The Festival would not be possible without the dedication of more than 425 year-round volunteers and 1,300 community and service club volunteers to stage Canada’s Greatest Bavarian Festival — Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest. Since 1969, our constant growth and success promoting a unique German heritage experience is a testament to the thriving relationship and pride between the Festival and the community.

Become a part of an exhilarating experience and share in the spirit of Gemütlichkeit!

We are always ready to welcome dynamic people who wish to promote Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest. Interested potential volunteers can submit applications right up to August 1st to be included in the current Festival year. Applications received after August 1st will be held until early spring for the following Festival year. Our Volunteer Coordinator will then set up an interview that allows us to connect you with a volunteer position suited to your interests and skills.

Committees are actively engaged in planning throughout the year, normally meeting for a few hours every month to administer committee business and stay abreast of Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest initiatives. Volunteers are asked to allocate a minimum of 20 hours of volunteer time per committee to the Festival each year.

As a new Festival volunteer, you will need to:

  • attend a Volunteer Orientation workshop (virtual options will be available)
  • provide a Police Records check (approx. cost is $10 every five years) must be the legal age of majority (19 years)
  • depending on the function of the committee, you may be required to wear German Tracht (Dirndls, Lederhosen, etc.)

If you are interested in volunteering, we invite you to fill out the application form online. For more information, contact us!

2021 Volunteers of the Year

2021 Volunteer of the Year, Karina Graf

Karina Graf has been a dedicated volunteer with Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest for over 10 years now. In that time, the festival has truly come to rely on Karina for her confident leadership and strong performance as committee chair of some of our most valued events.  Karina began with the Tour de Hans committee in 2012, eventually becoming chair in 2016.  She managed the safe and successful execution of an event involving hundreds of cyclists and volunteers on a 100km route.  In 2018 Karina took over as chair of the Women of the Year committee, guiding a strong team of long-time volunteers in delivering a high-profile event recognizing the outstanding women of our community.  Through Karina’s leadership, the Women of the Year committee navigated a changing community, venue changes, and even a postponement in 2020. With the onset of the pandemic, Karina deftly guided her team in transitioning a 500 person event into a successful and truly engaging virtual event, with a record number of award nominations submitted in 2021.  Karina is always the first to arrive and the last to leave her events, she is organized, approachable and completely committed to creating a positive experience for every guest, sponsor and volunteer she meets.  Karina Graf is the Volunteer of the Year for 2021.

2021 Volunteer of the Year, Craig Moore

For the past 8 years, Craig Moore has brought his easy-going leadership style to the Oktoberfest Golf Committee, most significantly as Committee chair since 2014.  The Oktoberfest Golf Experience has seen a great deal of change since Craig took the helm, including multiple venue changes, sponsor changes and even a pandemic, all of which required Craig’s careful thought and decisive action.  Craig contributes to every aspect of the event, from sponsorships and planning to hands-on execution! In 2020 and 2021 the Oktoberfest Golf Experience had to make significant adjustments to keep our guests safe and healthy! Craig led his team to one of the most successful Oktoberfest Golf Experience events in memory, with rave reviews from sponsors and guests alike. Craig brings his calm and relaxed leadership style to every situation and has never been one to shy away from the heavy lifting on event day. For this reason, and many more, Craig Moore is the Volunteer of the Year for 2021.

View past Volunteer of the Year winners!


Archives Committee

The Archives Committee is about capturing the history of the festival through photos, news releases, presidential documents, and small artifacts. The Archives Committee compiles all the relevant information to submit to the University of Waterloo where Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest has a contract to keep the festival’s history on file. You’ll get to enjoy the 2nd largest Bavarian festival in the world while capturing and preserving the history of the region and the festival.

Key Responsibilities:

  1. Capturing history through shooting photos at Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest events.
  2. Selecting the best 200 photos of each festival year out of the thousands of pictures that come to the office from professional photographers and volunteers.
  3. Maintaining computer file storage of photos and managing the selection of files to go to the University of Waterloo on the newest format (DVD-USB).
  4. Creating and selecting photos for each presidential document.
  5. Transporting and delivering the KWO office admin to the University of Waterloo archival library (when required).

Ceremonies Committee

The Ceremonies Committee is responsible for bringing to life the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. They must prepare the stage, select entertainment, and invite dignitaries who will all be present for the Opening Ceremonies. It is also their job to pick a location to hold the closing ceremonies; always in one of the Festhallen. This Committee is responsible for kicking off the Festival year and for ending it on a good note.

Key Responsibilities:

  1. The decoration, staging, and entertainment of Opening Ceremonies.
  2. The selection of location for Closing Ceremonies.
  3. The ceremonies present a high level of value to the Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest experience as seen by our critical stakeholders.
  4. All ceremonies must have a “fresh face” each year and a high level of audience engagement to support the KWO experience.

Downtown Production Committee

The Downtown Production Committee exists to create a central point for the Festival, in which visitors may acquire information, German entertainment, and food. The Committee is responsible for decorating this central hub, in a way that will draw visitors in and keep them interested. Design a flow from one end of the street to the other, in which tents will hold information, vendors, and entertainment.

Key Responsibilities:

  1. The committee volunteers set up and dismantle the blockades, stages, tents and signage in the Willkommen Platz.
  2. Placement of vendors and décor are also arranged by the committee.
  3. Coordinates and schedules a wide variety of entertainment (i.e. bands, buskers and mascots) to perform in the downtown area.
  4. The committee works closely with the Board and other relevant committees (i.e. Festival Promotions, Gemütlichkeit).
  5. Wears authentic tracht while volunteering in the central hub.
  6. Will always respect other volunteers.

Festival Entertainment Committee

Currently, the Festival Entertainment Committee covers entertainment at all events at Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest. This includes local dance group bookings and schedules.

The Committee also has a Sub-committee, known as the “Ein Prosit Awards,” which goes around and judges the hired bands on a set of criteria.

Any entertainment request from outside the Festival, that would like an Oktoberfest flavour, is connected with entertainment (band and/or dance group) by this Committee. This happens on a year-round basis.

There are plans to be very comprehensive not only of music and dance but novelty acts and more. They will have booking costs, touring dates, etc. Currently, the Committee receives requests from both inside and outside the organization for all sorts of entertainment from a two-person group that does 5-minute acts such as organ grinding, accordion, facepaint, etc. to larger bands or dance groups.

Festival Promotions Committee

The Festival Promotions Committee is responsible for telling the Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest story in order to increase awareness and participation in Canada’s greatest Bavarian festival. It is quite the story to tell so we use a number of different methods to market Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest.

Key Responsibilities:

  1. Developing ongoing strategies to keep our festival top of mind.
  2. Supporting other committees with on-site events before & during the festival.
  3. Spreading the spirit of Gemütlichkeit!
  4. Keeping on top of trends & bringing new ideas to utilize in the upcoming year’s promotions.
  5. Assisting Festhallen partners with special events.
  6. Assisting with the festival’s opening ceremony & keg tapping.

Gemütlichkeit Committee

The Gemütlichkeit Committee has the responsibility to be helpful and informative to both the public and other Committees with respect to Oktoberfest events. Ensures that public expectations are met while staying within the mandate and budget set for Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest. Must always be cheerful, as their role is representative of the festival and therefore they are at the forefront of making visitors feel both welcome and happy.

Key Responsibilities:

  1. Serve as an ambassador for the festival and assist where/when needed.
  2. Study Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest’s schedule of events to ensure you can provide information when asked or know where to find the information if needed.
  3. Complete status sheet when attending events organized by other chairs.
  4. Encourage new ideas to be brought forth to Board for review.

Keg Tapping Team Committee

The Keg Tapping Team functions all year round, bringing the Oktoberfest experience to local and out-of-town conferences. The committee provides an authentic atmosphere for the client by decorating rooms to replicate a Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest Festhalle, meet and greet guests as they arrive while dressed in tracht, perform a keg tapping with beer samplings as well as engage the crowd to have an Oktoberfest style experience. The Keg Tapping Team also serves as the “Keepers of the Keg” and performs the keg tapping ceremonies at the Opening Ceremonies for the festival and at the individual Festhallen throughout the festival.  

Key Responsibilities:

  1. Decorate event rooms.
  2. Meet and greet guests.
  3. Perform a keg tapping experience with dignitaries, the President, the Oktoberfest Ambassador, and our mascot, Onkel Hans.
  4. Provide consultation and assistance to groups that want a Bavarian theme for their special events, conventions, and meetings.
  5. Engage with the guests to add to their experience and ensure patrons enjoy the “Gemütlichkeit” of Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest.

Maypole Committee

The Maypole Committee is devoted to maintaining a Bavarian Tradition within our Canadian culture. This Committee brings a visual event to our guests and visitors, which is something they may not see or experience anywhere else. This Committee must also facilitate a safe environment where specific health and safety rules are followed, so as to ensure the safety of both spectators and volunteers. An honourary Baumeister is designated for every lift and is given a ceremonial pin for his/her participation (a way in which to include the community/visitors).

Key Responsibilities:

  1. Tracht necessary.
  2. Must show a high level of enthusiasm before, during, and after every event.
  3. Must be familiar with maypole history and tradition.
  4. Must take part in a training course on health and safety procedures for maypole.

Oktoberfest Golf Experience Committee

The Oktoberfest Golf Experience takes place in August and is one of the final tournaments of the season. Players will get chances to win incredible prizes on all of the par 3 holes, they will get to sample delicious food and beverages on many holes and also get Oktoberfest Sausage for lunch, and an amazing German dinner. The Oktoberfest Golf Experience has moved to the Galt Country Club in 2021.

Key Responsibilities:

  1. On course marshals.
  2. Hole-in-one-Witness.
  3. Silent auction item generation.
  4. Registration table.

Oktoberfest Mascots Committee

The Oktoberfest Mascots Committee is undoubtedly the most active and fun committee in Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest.

The mascots consist of:

  • Onkel Hans is the brand of Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest. Onkel Hans is everywhere throughout the year and he is the center of attention at events he attends during Oktoberfest. Along with his escorts they bring smiles and good cheer to every Festhalle and event they go to. His favorite things to do are the Bird Dance and taking pictures with guests.
  • Tanta Frieda, Onkel Hans’ wife, attends a number of events and shares in bringing good cheer, smiles and is always available for pictures.
  • The Steiner Brothers, Ziggy and Zaggy Steiner, are the mischievous nephews of Onkel Hans and Tanta Frieda.

Oktoberfest Mascots Committee works hand in hand with every other committee in Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest. From keg tappings to dancing with the Oktoberfest Ambassador and participating in the Oktoberfest Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Oktoberfest Mascots Committee is everywhere.

Onkel Hans Food Drive Committee

A committee dedicated to bringing the Gemütlichkeit of Oktoberfest during the Thanksgiving Day Parade to the Kitchener-Waterloo area. It is through the involvement of our generous community, both through their food donations and financial support, that it is possible for The Food Bank of Waterloo Region to bring the spirit of Thanksgiving to many families. With the support of our sponsors, our friends in the media, and our willing volunteers, we are able to exemplify our community generosity.

Key Responsibilities:

  1. Assist in getting volunteers to help collect money along the parade route.
  2. Collect monies along the parade route.
  3. Roll money and give to Food Bank of Waterloo Region once all monies have been accounted for.

Parade Committee

Perhaps one of the most widely recognized events associated with Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest is the iconic Thanksgiving Day Parade. Like all of Oktoberfest’s events, this too is organized by a team of dedicated volunteers. Or more like 10 teams!

With 10 subcommittees, each dedicated to a very particular area of the parade, Chair Eric Scheffler along with long-time volunteer Jean Weiler keeps this machine moving altogether and in the same direction. His committee meetings have the chair of each attend to report on their progress. He credits the great help he has on these subcommittees for making it all happen. He also works closely with Jackie Herrgott, Chair of Onkel Hans Food Drive Committee ensuring they stay informed.


  • Executive                                       
  • Bands                                            
  • Bleachers                                      
  • Float Construction                       
  • Float Maintenance                        
  • Marshaling
  • Production
  • Signs
  • Sponsors’ Reception/Judges
  • Warehouse

In total, the Parades Committees have 83 volunteers working well in advance of the event. Each subcommittee may have as few as 5-6 people on them, but some, like Marshals, have up to 25 people on them. Add to that another 125 volunteers that come out on event day alone and that means a lot of man-hours goes into making this spectacle happen.

Women of the Year Committee

The K-W Oktoberfest Rogers Women of the Year Awards recognize outstanding women in the community in ten categories: Arts & Culture; Community Service; Entrepreneur; Group Achievement; Health and Wellness; Lifetime Achievement; professional; Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM); Sports and Recreation; and Young Adult. Nominees and award recipients are recognized at a celebratory reception annually.

The committee identifies potential nominees and encourages nominations. A separate adjudication committee selects the award recipients. The committee meets monthly for 1.5 hours, and volunteers can also expect an additional 15-20 hours.

Key Responsibilities:

  1. Identify potential nominees and encourage nominations.
  2. Plan details for the awards reception, including décor, food, and keynote speaker.
  3. Promote the awards via social media.
  4. Liaise with sponsors and nominees.
  5. Volunteer at the event, including set-up, ticketing, decor, and clean-up.

2021 Board of Directors 

Operations Council

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