40 Years of Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest History

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Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest

THE FIRST 40 YEARS 1969 - 2008

An Overview from the Inside……………


The Archives Committee of Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest is happy to make available, to everyone, this record of the Festival from its beginnings in 1969 through the 40th Festival in 2008. Photographs have been assembled from various volunteers, the office files, the Doris Lewis Rare Books Library at the University of Waterloo (with huge thanks to Susan Mavor and Jane Britton), the files of Dolf Bogad (formerly of Forde Studios), and the press clippings preserved over the years by Anne Willcox and Dolores Trask. Special thanks to Jack Bishop for his invaluable input, to Owen Lackenbauer for getting the historical initiative rolling, to the K-W Oktoberfest Inc. staff, and Heidi Peller-Oliver for her dedication to the project this past year. As you review this document, you will appreciate the talents and dedication of hundreds of volunteers, over these many years, in the creation and expansion of Canada’s Greatest Bavarian Festival.

Editor – Bob Wagner, Past Chair of Archives, Past Chair of Parade, and prior member of Advisory Council

Co-Editor – Heidi Peller-Oliver, Vice-Chair of Archives, Co-Vice Chair and member of Lottery, Past Vice-Chair & member of Buttons, Member of International Talent, Maypole, Gemuetlichkeit Committees, Past Member of Downtown Production

March 21, 2011

This material has been organized into Chapters as follows:

Chapter 1 - The Early Days Chapter 2 - Das Gem端tlichkeit Chapter 3 - Enter Onkel Hans Chapter 4 - Cultural Events and Old Country Traditions Chapter 5 - Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest Thanksgiving Day Parade Chapter 6 - The Annual Posters Chapter 7 - Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest Operettas Chapter 8 - Miss Oktoberfest Pageant/Miss Oktoberfest Gala Ball Chapter 9 - International Talent Chapter 10 - Presidents and General Managers/Executive Directors Chapter 11 - VIP Visits to Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest Chapter 12 - Miscellaneous Chapter 13 - Boards of Directors Chapter 14 - The Oktoberfest Breweries Chapter 15 - Recognition of Support from J.M. Schneider Foods Conclusion

CHAPTER 1 - The Early Days The seeds for Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest, as it is known, were planted by the Concordia Club in 1967 as a celebration for Canada’s Centennial. The event was held for its members and guests, and attracted 2,500 revelers. It was repeated in 1968, and attendance rose to 4,000. Darwin Clay, the President of Budd Automotive, who was Chair of the Visitor and Convention Bureau, of the Chamber of Commerce, and saw the potential for a city-wide Festival. Owen Lackenbauer, PR Manager with B F Goodrich, and Dick Hermansen, PR manager of Wilfrid Laurier University, were recruited; and, in early 1969 they met with the German Clubs, service clubs and Bingeman Park to plan a citywide Oktoberfest in the fall of 1969.

Two firsts occurred in the 1969 German Clubs’ Festival - the first Miss Oktoberfest was selected from Transylvania Club, and the first poster, with Julius, was created.

Host club Concordia and President Werner Metzger

The first Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest was a great community-wide success with an attendance of 70,000 people; planning than commenced for the 1970 Community-wide Festival which was a whole new initiative.

K-W Oktoberfest Inc. 1970 Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest became an incorporated not-for- profit community organization, kicking things into high gear‌

The original Board of Directors and Civic Officials – 1970

From Left: Archie Gillies, Kitchener Chamber of Commerce; Barry Burnstein, Downtown Business; Lawrence Bingeman, Bingeman Park; P. Hulbert; Jonas Bingeman, Bingeman Park; Herb Schneider, J.M. Schneider; Dr. Jack Bishop; Bob Wagner, City Appointee; Darwin Clay, Chair; Mike Walters, Secretary; Werner Metzger, Pres. Concordia; Michael Hoesch, Pres. Transylvania; Dick Hermansen, General Manager; Paul Weiner, Pres. Schwaben Club; Spec Turner, GM Waterloo Chamber; Richard Mausser, Pres. Alpine Club; Don Meston, Mayor Waterloo; Fred Ryan, Manager Waterloo Square; Carl Hesse, Hotel Industry; Bryce Rhunke, Manager Fairview Park Mall and Owen Lackenbauer, PR Manager of B F Goodrich and of Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest. Absent: N. Schneider, J.R. Zuber Jr.

Below is the Official Proclamation, which was read by the Mayor of Kitchener at the annual opening of the Festival:


Preparing for the expanded Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest in 1970, the Board followed the traditions of the German Community with the fun, food and music of their heritage; which were seen as having enormous potential as a unique tourist attraction for our Communities.

The original Partner Festhallen included Bingemans, which was a Family-run entertainment Centre with a capacity of 2,600 in two rooms, operated by the Bingeman family - Esther, Lawrence and Jonas. In addition, local Service Clubs soon joined Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest in sponsoring their own Clubs; which included Altes Muenchen Haus (operated by Lions Club of Kitchener), Heidelberg Haus (operated by Twin Cities Optimists), Karlsberg Haus (operated by the Twin City Kiwanis Club) and Oktoberfest Haus (operated by Kitchener Oktoberfest Lions). All had their unique atmosphere and were favorites to their guests every year; both the German Clubs and the Service Club Halls are still in operation 40 years later.

Seated in middle is Bill Renaud, President of Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest in 1981, surrounded by the early German Club Presidents. Bottom row (l-r): Stefan Jauch, Schwaben Club President; John Penteker, Transylvania Club President; Bill Renaud, President of Oktoberfest; August Popp, Concordia Club President; Richard Mausser, Alpine Club President Top row (l-r): Tony Weiss, Vice-President of Schwaben; Walter MacLean, MP; Dr. Jack Bishop, Past President of Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest; Julius Rauchfuss, Mr. Oktoberfest; Guenter Jessat; Advisory Council; Otto Werner, owner of graphic studio; Ernie Breitschneider, Concordia Club

Below are the five German Clubs and a brief history of their origins. Each German Club has a president, queen and dance group that represent the particular region of German background the club was formed around. Each club has their own type of German food they serve, unique to their area or origin. Since 1970, German Clubs have become official Festhallen during Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest.

Alpine Club - founded in 1953, the original members hailed from Gottscheer, in what is now Slovenia.

. Concordia Club - with origins dating to 1873 in Kitchener, the Concordia Club, as its name implies, is a harmony of member’s whose backgrounds are from all regions of German-speaking Europe.

Hubertushaus - founded in 1954, covers virtually all regions of German-speaking Europe. The German-Canadian Hunting and Fishing Club was founded by a group of members with a special interest in hunting, wildlife and the natural environment at the club.

Schwaben Club -with its varied heritage of peoples; from along the Danube River and Yugoslovia, Hungary, Romania, and Germany; Schwaben Club members “have various special traditions from these countries" that are passed on to their children. This Club has four dance groups ranging from ages 5 to 65.

Transylvania Club - dedicated to sharing German culture, including the unique Transylvania Saxon heritage and language of the founding members; the Transylvania Club was formed in 1951.

In 1970, with the leadership of, from left below, PR Chair Owen Lackenbauer, the mult-titled Jack Bishop, General Manager Dick Hermansen, seated, President Darwin Clay, and the members of the new Board, many new initiatives began; including recruiting volunteers for new initiatives, including: • • • • •

the Parade, which from day one, was a major attraction of the Festival organizing an international Miss Oktoberfest Pageant working with the Festhallen Operators to establish standards of service and products offered soliciting sponsorships with local companies public relations projects, which were all extremely successful

Owen Lackenbauer

Jack Bishop, Dick Hermansen & Darwin Clay

Original Staff - Dick Hermansen, Inge Perleman and Rick Tomlinson

Below is Owen’s 1970 “Million Dollar Poster”, note reference to “beer.”

It is called a “Million Dollar Poster” because it was banned by the LCBO and was ordered to be removed from public view, due to the reference to “beer.” It was treated as international news in Time Magazine. Owen had hit the jackpot publicity-wise!

Caption reproduced : ‘How far can modern permissiveness be allowed to go? A tricky question, but in Ontario the answer has never been much in doubt. Confronted last week by a poster advertising the Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest and showing a flaxen-haired barmaid next to the motto “Canada’s Great Beer Festival,” the province’s Liquor License Board acted true to type. The Poster, declared the commissioner, could not be shown in public because the word “beer” was quite unsuitable. But as a special concession, the Commissioner did allow the ads to hang in beverage rooms - as long as “beer” was carefully inked out. It was all enough to recall L. A. MacKay’s Frankie Went Down to the Corner, written in 1936: Ontario’s such a respectable place Drinking’s no crime, but it’s still a disgrace So hide it away behind curtain and screen While we stealthily go through the motions obscene”

Cover page exposure, on a major international magazine, and tongue in cheek satirical caption instantly gave Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest priceless publicity – PR- wise it was to die for!!!! The question remains unanswered, in the inner circles of Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest, for the past 40 years: did Owen knowingly put the dreaded “beer” word in the poster, expecting the flap it would cause in the LCBO and publicity it would give us? After all, there is no such thing as bad publicity; to this day, only Owen knows the answer. An Article and Editorial from the K-W Record

While the “beer” reference was censored, Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest won hugely with all the North American publicity, which put the Festival solidly on the North American festival map.

CHAPTER 2 - Das Gemütlichkeit (Eng.) Music, Dancing, Sausage und Beer

Above: a very useful guide for “festers”, especially first timers!

A Busy Night in the Concordia Club Tent

Within a year, or two, standing on tables and chairs was banned; however, everyone is still required to stand for “Ein Prosit.”

Students from Wilfrid Laurier University - note cool sideburns

Gemütlichkeit in the Concordia Club Tent

Two authentic German folk dances/exercises: on the left, the hip-slapping called Schuhplattling; on the right, wood-chopping Both are fun and exhausting to watch!

ChAPTER 3 - Enter Onkel Hans It was soon determined that Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest needed an icon for publicity purposes, and it needed to reflect a friendly and perhaps a whimsical German image. The assignment was given to Rick Waurechen, who was a member of the Advertising Department of B F Goodrich Ltd. at the time, and then moved to the Graphics Division of CKCO TV. Onkel Hans was introduced, officially, in 1974. Waurechen continued further design work for Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest, including the short-lived Tante Frieda figure; as well as, being an important member of the PR Committee, for several years.

This is an early version of an Onkel Hans float (circa 1974), with Jonas Bingeman in back of float in “tracht” (old country leather shorts). He became the “live” Onkel Hans on the City of Kitchener float, and appeared everywhere, including Festhallen. It is interesting to note that the City of Kitchener sponsored this float when it was entere in the St Catherines Wine Festival Parade in September 1974 complete with Jonas rocking the float and City Hall gitls aboard and waving to crowds.

Tante Frieda Betty Thompson was a popular TV Personality on CKCO in the 1970s, and was very much involved with Community programs; as well as, Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest. She suggested that Onkel Hans must be lonely all by himself and needed a Frau. Accordinglydingly Rick was assigned the task of creating a “Tante Frieda�.

Below is a display of the traditional Hans inflatable along with the new Frieda; she suffered in side-by-side comparison.

In hindsight it was apparent that the Onkel Hans icon was complete in itself and that Frieda blurred the image. She was unceremoniously phased out in 1984/1985. R. I. P. FRIEDA

CHAPTER 4 - Cultural Events and Old Country Traditions In the early 70s, the Board set up a Cultural Events committee, with the mandate to organize annual programs of traditional music, dancing and sporting events; in an attempt to bring interest to the Festival outside of the “beer” image. The late Bill Henderson was the initial Chair, and lost no time in initiating a whole new dimension to the Festival; which expanded every year to the events listed here: •

Atom Hockey Tournament - 80 teams of 10 year old boys from across North America

DOGtoberfest - for pets and owners; including games for dogs and owners, judging for costumes, tricks and personalities (of the dogs)

Slo-Pitch Classic - teams of male, female and mixed – 200 teams competing

K-W Oktoberfest Rogers Women of the Year - recognizes and honors outstanding women of the Community in various categories; including Community Service, Arts & Culture, Health & Wellness, Lifetime Achievement, Sports & Recreation and Young Adult. This is always an impressive event

Entefest (Harvest Festival) - replicates the seasonal activity of a Pioneer Mennonite Family at harvest time; including schnitzing, preserving, pickling, and flax processing to prepare the homestead for winter. It occurs in the heritage home of J.M. Schneider who founded J M Schneider Meats

Wishmaker Walk for Wishes - a walk in support of Children’s Wish Foundation; including a raffle, entertainment, and refreshments. Also of interest are the displays showing the work of the Agency, in the Community and beyond

Juried Art Show - sponsored by Waterloo Community Arts Council, displays the works of the 28 members of the Council; three judges award the prizes. Music and complimentary refreshments served

Miss Oktoberfest Gala Ball - is a black tie gala, with the order of the evening being to present to the guests the new Miss Oktoberfest. Contestants, originally, were invited from across North American, which gave us major publicity; now they are chosen from the Golden Triangle, the next day they are presented to the public at the Oktoberfest Preview and are busy in their role for the duration of the Festival

These events attract thousands of people who enjoy the variety of programs which truly appeal to every taste and continue to this day. Our “Old Country” heritage is a major component of the Festival, with the intent of reminding our local citizens of the German traditions we all enjoy; as well as, giving our visitors an ethnic experience they may well taste nowhere else.

Below are three of our historic iconsClockwise from top left: The Heritage Time Teller, The Maypole, and The Glockenspiel.

The Heritage Time Teller - designed to be a replica of a steam powered Musical Clock, an initiative of President Bill Renaud, was erected in Uptown Waterloo at the King and William St. intersection. Above, on right: sod turning (l/r Bill Renaud, Past President; Mayor Marjorie Carroll, of Waterloo; Bill Henderson, President; and Bill Stewart, General Manager). Below: the finished product as it looks today, in Uptown Waterloo. The parkette where it is located is immediately in front of the property which, historically, once held the massive Carling (Labatt’s) Brewery, previously mentioned; and ribbon-cutting with Past President Bill Renaud, the Mayor and President Bill Henderson

The Maypole below - the Permanent Maypole was erected in memory of Fred Buttinger by 100 volunteers, in 1998, beside the glockenspiel, across from Hans Haus. Due to construction of the a parking garage in 2009, the Permanent Maypole had to be moved and re-erected in the parkette beside K-W Oktoberfest Inc. and Hans Haus. Since 2005, a smaller replica appears at many events and in the parade, and is ceremoniously erected and lowered by the Maypole team in front of the viewers on the street.

Photos show Maypole Team carrying and erecting Maypole on Parade route and during events; and below Mrs. Fred Buttinger, widow and long time supporter of Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest, and mother to President Paul Buttinger (2009-2010), holds commemorative plaque.

Mrs Fred Buttinger and Horst Buttinger The Glockenspiel - the seven dwarf figures for the Glockenspiel, shown below, arrived in 1974 from Germany. The dwarfs were on a track that took them out to be seen, and then retreated back into their “house� to the sound of their tunes; it attracted many viewers every day. New owners of the Trust Company sadly required its removal and Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest is working to reinstall the system elsewhere downtown Kitchener.

Here is a Press clipping outlining the Dwarfs’ story:

The German-Canadian Historical Mural Another significant effort of the German Community was the historical mural, which was painted on panels hung on the Benton St. wall of the Delta Hotel. The mural was sponsored by the Co-operative Council of the GermanCanadian Clubs; with Helmuth Herold, a director of the Alpine Club, as Chair of the mural project and Harry Vogt, President of the German-Canadian Hunting and Fishing Club (Hubertushaus), as Co-Chair. Both did yeoman service in the German community in soliciting support and funds, and happily the mural was unveiled in 1998, with Helmuth doing the honors as below on right. The artist chosen was Herr Gus Froese, who lived in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. With scaffolding erected, he was here painting for two or three weeks. He attracted crowds who watched the picture take shape every day. The objective for the design of the mural was to show the presence and contributions of our Old Country citizens to the diversity of our communities. It succeeded very well.

The mural illustrates many views of early pioneer life in Kitchener and the prior Municipality of Berlin (it was renamed Kitchener when some tensions arose during the First World War). Note on upper left of photo on the right the Glockenspiel is partially visible. Included in mural, from the upper left corner clockwise: the German Mennonite Conestoga Wagon (which brought early settlers from Pennsylvania), the early Steam Trains, a white Barn with crops, the original Clock Tower (preserved from the Kitchener City Hall), a furniture maker, and German Dancers. Sadly, in 2005, the Delta Hotel was sold and the new owners wanted the mural removed. A wall plaque of the work was commissioned and, with encouragement of the City, is now permanently displayed in the Kitchener Farmer’s Market a short block away as shown below

CHAPTER 5 - Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest Thanksgiving Day Parade

The Drum Float was commissioned by the Parade Committee to give Julius Rauchfuss (Mr. Oktoberfest) a prominent presence in the Parade, and also to recognize our two national Sponsors, B.F. Goodrich and J.M. Schneider; the latter has stayed a Sponsor for over 40 years. Floats were sponsored by Community Organizations, Corporations and Municipalities and resulted in a wide variety of entries; samples of which are shown below. Seagram’s VO Bandwagon below was a Classic for the parade in the late 1970s. Ed Herringer, the local Float Builder, was given the concept, designed the float and arranged for the horses; KitchenerWaterloo Oktoberfest booked the New Hamburg Citizens Band, approximately 35 strong with new uniforms. Seagram’s lost no time in signing on as Sponsor. It received great reception and KitchenerWaterloo Oktoberfest took it, with the horses, to the Grey Cup Parade in Toronto six weeks later, with equal success. The horse driver, on the right, is local resident Arnold Rife. He raised the prize winning horses himself; having won awards in the Royal Winter Fair for many years.

Below left: another Herringer design, this time for Mutual Life, with the flag design in an aluminum frame and carried in the Parade by Staff. They are in rehearsal in jeans and shorts in the photo below; however, in parade they were all in colorful track suits. Below right: nhe new Onkel Hans Inflatable



In its original incarnation, the float below was sponsored by Past President Don Nurse. Originally it was called the “Singing Steins�; music played, during which the stein lids went up and down in time with music. On subsequent appearances it was redone with different sponsors and without the lid movement, but was still a crowd pleaser.

The joint German Clubs’ float with Maypole, Castle Towers, and the various Club Shields, left to right: Transylvania, Schwaben, Alpine, Hubertushaus and Concordia Clubs.

The float, on the right, carries the popular “Moonshine Band”; they play a good tune and “moonshine” also contributes to the spirit of “Gemütlichkeit”.

Here are the German Club Presidents, and their wives, aboard the Pioneer Horse-drawn Conestoga Wagon.

This London band was also colourful and very good with the Tunes.

Another of our German-Canadian Heritage traditions is the Christkindl Market; which is held just before Christmas at City Hall. It is an incredible showcase of Old Country crafts on sale to the public.

The Float, seen live on the street, gives a sense of the exceptional craft items from Germany.

While not a float, above left is Larry Blundell, retired after 15 years as Executive Director in January 2011; he leads the Preston Scout House Alumni Band with great authority and precision; the Band has been a North American Parade and Drill Champion in shows across Canada and the U.S., since the 1950s.

Here are two local icons: Zehrs Food Markets inflatable truck; serving the K-W Region and beyond for 40 or 50 years, and the pride of local hockey fans, the Kitchener Rangers.

CHAPTER 6 - The Annual Posters (in Chronological order) Each poster design, whether a photograph or a painting, gives a good “feel” for Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest; all now being collector’s items. The last year posters were made was 2002.

Yvonne Thomas the model

CHAPTER 7 - Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest Operettas In September 1980, the City of Kitchener opened its new Centre in the Square; which included an Art Gallery and a 2,000 seat Theater. The Theatre became the home for two major Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest annual productions. Starting in October, 1980: Five new Operettas beginning with “Die Fledermaus� in 1980 and the yearly Miss Oktoberfest Pageants. Below are the Opening Day crowds at the Theatre Entrance of the Centre in the Square, September 1980.

The Operetta Committee, with Jack Bishop and Fred Ryan as Producers, recruited talented artists from the local Arts Community to get the project up and running.

Ted Rhodes, of the K-W Opera Guild, was appointed Producer and continued for several shows. The organizations involved included: The K-W Symphony, K-W Opera Guild, Cameron Heights Collegiate Concert Band, Canadian Opera, various Service Clubs, the German Clubs, the Senior Governments and Molsons. It was a truly CommunityWide project.

The staging of the shows was magnificent and local amateur and semi professional artists did themselves proud‌..

The following are shots of the stages and casts but unfortunately unidentified by Production.

CHAPTER 8 - Miss Oktoberfest Pageant and Miss Oktoberfest Gala Ball The Pageant was initiated in 1969, with the German Clubs’ festival, on a local basis; the winner of the Miss Oktoberfest Pageant then went on to compete in the Miss Canada Pageant. In 1971, Miss Oktoberfest Donna Sawicky, won the Miss Canada title.

Jack Petersen, Past President, organized the Pageant for 30 years, initially with co-producer Jack Bishop In 1971, the Pageant was expanded to a North American eligibility basis and a great number of Canadian and American entrees were received; which, like the controversial “beer” poster, gave Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest more international publicity every year. 2003 marked the year that the Miss Oktoberfest Pageant added a Black Tie Ball, on a geographically reduced basis with the contestants chosen from an 80 km radius only, due to costs of past pageants for such things as flights and hotels. 40 years of Miss Oktoberfest Queens in chronological order:

Christine Orendi 1969, LesleyWhite 1970, Donna Sawicky 1971, Kim Jeffries 1972

Summer Bartholomew 1973 , Gayle Gorrell 1974, Jan Nillson 1975, Mary Pat Hannon 1976

Belinda Metz 1977, Debbie Davis 1978, Debbie Niego 1979, Kathy Dawn Patrick 1980

Sylvie Sinclair 1981, Lynn Donovan 1982, Caroline Flury 1983, Kimberly Ann Denison 1984,

Melanie Bryte 1985, Adrienne Lee Ross 1986, Jayne Poteet 1987, Jennifer Keddy 1988

Debbie James 1989, Shannon Mack 1990, Renee Murphy 1991, Patricia Buchanan 1992

Kristi Pyles 1993, Staci Nicole Lehman 1994, Paulette Schier 1995, Jaycie Preskitt 1996

Danica Quinn (also Miss K-W) 1997, Katy Johnson 1998, Bridgett Jordan 1999, Jenna Edwards 2000

Karen Long 2001*, Meredith Boggs 2002, Melissa Melnychuk 2003, Robyn Hewson 2004

Krystal Benesch 2005, Lyndsey Weber 2006, Nicole Stuber 2007, Natalie MacNeil 2008 In later years the bathing suit judging was eliminated and it was based more on Talent which brought us some world-class talent.

CHAPTER 9 - International Talent Henning Grumme was a native of Germany and, after coming to Canada in 1959, he was referred by Betty Thompson to Bill Henderson to serve on Bill’s Cultural Events committee, in the mid Seventies. This was natural for Henning, because he was fluent in German and had many connections in Germany.

Henning Grumme

Betty Thompson

Bill Henderson

It was important for Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest to bring German Culture and Entertainment, to give the Festival an authentic flavour and image. Henning, accordingly, made frequent trips to Europe and booked many dance groups and bands to come to Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest; liaising with the various Clubs, he would book appearances during the Festival, so visitor’s would experience a taste of the “real thing.” However, many of the local Bands and Dancers, from the Clubs, are now their equals. Here are some of his imports:

Lendorf Folkdance Group

Fidelen Koflacher – 1981 They introduced the Bird Dance to Oktoberfest.

Musik Group Rheintreue

Vienna Boys Choir


Neusser Ratsblaser

The Mueller Family

Styrian Dance Group

Hensberg Folkdancers

Marktkapelle Wildon

* Grainbach Dance Group early/mid 1990’s These are some of the parents of ………


Danish Police Band


Grainbach Dance Group 2008 ……….their kids in this later group


Musikkapelle Betzigau


Herzogenburg Dance Group 2006

Stadtkapelle Furtwangen

Baden Rube Band


CHAPTER 10 - Presidents and General Managers/Executive Directors There were nineteen Presidents in the first 40 years; also below, the first 25 year special anniversary photograph.

Darwin Clay 1969-1971

William E. Renaud 1981-1982

Carol Sherban 1989-1990

Dr. Jack Bishop 1972-1976

William R. Henderson* 1983-1984

Glen Walker 1991-1992

Charles E. Greb * 1977-1978

Jack Petersen 1985-1986

Donald G. Nurse 1993-1994

Bill Stewart 1979-1980

Guenter Jessat 1987-1988

Don Craig * 1995-1996

Peter Eichinger * 1997-1998

August Sherban 1999-2000

Henning Grumme 2005-2006

Lois Peterson 2001-2002

Don Willcox 2003-2004

Mark Kreller 2007-2008

Presidents during first 25 years: Left to Right: Jack Bishop, Charles Greb, Bill Stewart, Bill Renaud, Darwin Clay, Bill Henderson, Jack Petersen, Guenter Jessat, Carol Sherban, and Glen Walker * Deceased

Our Executive Directors The General Manager or Executive Director of K-W Oktoberfest Inc. worked on the business side of the Festival. Below are the 5 General Managers / Executive Directors in the first 40 years.

Dick Hermansen 1969-1973

Bill Stewart 1984-1994

Fred Ryan (center) 1974 to 1983

Wayne Hussey -1994-1995

Larry Blundell 1995-2010

CHAPTER 11 - VIP Visits to Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest

Darryl Sittler 1995

John Candy. 1983

Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, 1972

Raymond Burr, 1977

CTV’s Lloyd Robertson, 2003

Arte Johson, 1975

Jonas Bingeman & John Diefenbaker. 1971

Schmenge Brothers, 1984

Guenther Jessat and Lennox Lewis

Jeremy Ratchford (Actor), 2006

Jeff Hutcheson & Lisa LaFlamme, 2002

John Diefenbaker, 1976

Gordon Sinclair

Henning Grumme, Walter Ostanek, Curt Harnett 1998 Olympic Champion

Ron McLean(middle) of CBC Sports

Stompin’ Tom,

Rod Black of CBC/CTV sports & Walter Ostanek

Charles Greb with Harvey Kirk of CTV news

CHAPTER 12 – Miscellaneous Highlights

King Ludwig’s Castle as conceived and built by Past President Peter Benninger (*)

Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest Blimp 1970’s

RCMP Musical Ride

Strongman Competition

World’s Longest Sausage made for Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest

Annual sport event 10 KM Run

Canada AM broadcast at Brick Brewery, Opening Day of Oktoberfest 2003

Cake Decorating Contest 1978

Oktoberfest 25th Anniversary cake

Baton Contest Winners 1978

Archives Opening at University of Waterloo, with historical panels Left to Right: Wayne and Marg McDonald, Dr. Roger Downey, ??, Owen Lackenbauer, Helmuth Herold, Tony Weiss, Anne Willcox, Bob Smith

Standing: Ken Ainlay, Sales Manager; Don Nurse, President, Ainsworth Press; Jack Bishop; Fred Ryan Seated: Owen Lackenbauer and mid 70s Staff, as they help to review the brochure

Balloon Festival – A Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest Event in late 70’s

Keg Tapping 1970 w. Julius & Lesley White

Grainbach Dancers with Natalie 2008

Dick Hermansen doing the Bird Dance

Parade Bands in Concert after parade

Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest Air Show, 1980’s

Original Heidelberghaus Festhall, 1970’s

Dar Clay between two Mayors

Famous Keg Men - Mel Colvin & Bill Madill

Making of Oktoberfest Sausage

Pierre Trudeau, 1972

Ceremonies Downtown at Castle

Bogenschuetzenfest- Archery event Parade Committee late 70s l-r unidentified, GlenWalker, Glenna Sneddon, Gord Simpson JMS, Steve Kidd, Bob Wagner, Kelly Strome

Pied Piper leading kids in parade, 1970

New Hans Haus & Oktoberfest Office, 1999 President Peter Eichinger’s Idea to replicate King Ludwig Castle in Germany

Still active in 2008, after 40 years - Jack Bishop, Owen Lackenbauer, Lawrence Bingeman and Bob Wagner

Yearly Highlights from Oktoberfest files 1969

Bobby Gimby leads the Parade.


Our poster was not approved for distribution by the LCBO.


Donna Sawicky wins Miss Oktoberfest and Miss Canada.


Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau visits the Concordia Club.


Summer Bartholomew wins Miss Oktoberfest and in 1975 wins Miss America.


Onkel Hans is introduced to the Festival.


The Maypole is erected. Tante Frieda enters Hans’ life.


Former Prime Minister, John Diefenbaker, is the Parade Grand Marshal. Miss K-W (Mary Pat Hannon) wins Miss Oktoberfest title.


Raymond Burr is the Parade Grand Marshal.


10th Anniversary of Oktoberfest, Julius Rauchfuss is the Parade Grand Marshal.


Bonhomme Carnaval visits Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest in only his 2nd visit outside Quebec.


Mickey Mouse visits Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest.


Bird Dance is introduced by Intaernational Band - Die Original “Fidelen Koflacher”(see pic Pg. 40)


Air Show starts as a Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest event.


The longest sausage is produced.


The Schmenge Brothers attend Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest while filming movie The Last Polka.


Timeteller is opened in Waterloo.


King Ludwig's Castle is erected.


Opening of the Willkommen Zentrum in Kitchener.


20th Anniversary of Oktoberfest, Olympic Gold Medalist Lennox Lewis visits Oktoberfest.


Luftwaffenmusikkorps 2 visits Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest.


K-W Oktoberfest Inc. moves to a new home at 17 Benton Street, Kitchener.


Willkommen Zentrum facade is erected.


Honourable Michael Wilson speaks at the President's Invitational Luncheon. Onkel Hans celebrates Canada’s 125th Anniversary with commemorative button. Onkel Hans dresses for the 25th Anniversary of Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest.



Wayne Hussey is new Executive Director of K-W Oktoberfest Inc. The new Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest Warehouse Facility is opened on August 1st, at 265 Lexington Court, Waterloo.


Onkel Hans Food Drive becomes a new event during the Parade and the introduction of the International Cavalcade of Bands on Sunday at Seagram Stadium.


Long time volunteer, Larry Blundell, takes over position of Executive Director. Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest goes online - www.oktoberfest.ca.


Ernie Eves, Minister of Finance, speaks at President's Invitational Luncheon. Danica Quinn, Miss Kitchener-Waterloo wins Miss Oktoberfest title. Picketers from the University protest the Pageant. Major repairs are done on the Glockenspiel to get it ready for the Festival. Maypole will have to come down and be replaced.


30th Anniversary of Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest; Maypole Raising Ceremony was held on Saturday, Sept. 26th.


Cam Jackson, Ontario Minister of Tourism, taps keg at official Opening Ceremonies. President Peter Eichinger’s Idea of turning Hans Haus & Oktoberfest Offcie to replicate as King Ludwig Castle in Germany is ceremoniously unveiled.


Castle Facade Grand Opening; last year for King Ludwig’s Castle Museum and Zeitung (Souvenir Annual); last year for the International Cavalcade of Bands.


Introduction of the FestGuide (combination of the Souvenir Annual & Zeitung). Emergency Response Teams (Police, Fire & EMS) were the Parade Grand Marshals carrying Canada & US Flags in recognition of September 11, 2001. Smoking by-law comes into effect.


Added a Gargoyle to HANS HAUS as a way of protecting the castle, the Festival and the community. Official ceremony held on Friday, October 11, 2002 to coincide with the beginning of this year’s Festival. Children were asked to “name the Gargoyle”. Souvenir Manager, Gary Dunn, retired on November 30th and Heidi Wilson took over the position; last year as an international event for the Miss Oktoberfest Pageant.


35th Anniversary of Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest. Gargoyle (destroyed by vandals) named - HALDIS “Stone Spirit”, plaque will be placed in front. Miss Oktoberfest Pageant reformatted into a Regional event, now known as Miss Oktoberfest Gala Ball (only accepts participants from Region of Waterloo).


The Parade Committee introduced Kapellen Fest (Bandfest) on Sunday afternoon at Karlsberghaus.


The Parade Committee has decided to cancel Bands on Parade and focus on Kapellenfest. Prime Minister Paul Martin visits Passport to Success on Wednesday, October 12th.


New Castle Inflatable arrives for the Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest Thanksgiving Day Parade. Dalton McGuinty, Premier of Ontario, taps the keg at the official Opening Ceremonies.


K-W Oktoberfest Inc. changes its Governance Model; new Board of Directors structure is introduced.


40th Anniversary of Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest; reborn with new branding initiative (Onkel Hans, website, icons, jingle).

CHAPTER 13 - Boards of Directors

President Mark Kreller and 40th Board 2007/ 2008

Seated front (l-r): Brenda Fisher, Jo-Anne Griffin, Vic Degutis (2nd Vice-President), Mark Kreller (President), Paul Buttinger (1st Vice-President), Leslie Hutcheson, Jean Weiler Standing (l-r): Jim Fisher, Daryl Hanstke, Werner Schlueter, Larry Blundell (Executive Director), Henning Grumme, Lawrence Bingeman, Jack Bishop, Wade Osborne

CHAPTER 14 - Our Oktoberfest Breweries Over the Years: Formosa Springs, Molsons and the Brick Getting a Sponsor for our very own brew would make for great publicityWhen things got going in 1970, the Festival was actively looking for Corporate Sponsors for various events. One of the top priorities was to have a brewery brew a Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest Beer. Carling Breweries, at the time, was a major operation in Waterloo; taking up the whole block bounded by William, King, Allen and Park Streets – a formidable operation. When approached, their reply was a flat “no”; saying, in effect, that the production run would be too small and would not be worth their while. Adios Carling.

A relatively small brewery in Formosa then came on Board (bottle shown above) Happily they were accredited just as the big breweries went on strike and convoys of local bierrmeisters travelled up Hiway #7 to their villaage to load up. Formoas did a thriving business. No doubt the villagers complained about the traffic jams Regrettably, in a few years they were bought out, and our relationship terminatedmand we were temporarily without our own Brewmeister….

And then Molsons came aboard ….. Molsons then, in 1980, came aboard as Sponsor of the K-W Operettas and the Miss Oktoberfest Pageants in the new Centre in the Square. Molsona happily has continued as a valued Sponsor and Partner for 30 years and counting.

In their marketing plans promote they tied in their Canadian beer with our Festival which was a very effective pairing of the two, and continues to this day in its 30th year.

On the left is the beautiful hand-carved Beer Wagon, a regular in the parade and on the right an inflatable beer can which was portable and on display throughout the Festival.

On stage Waterloo Mayor Brenda Halloran (sans tracht!!), Molsons District Sales mgr Todd Lewin and Brick’s Jim Brickman

Molson’s Parade Keg- not sure if it is full

They have been a very much appreciated Sponsor.


We were happy to have the Brick Brewery join Oktoberfest in 1984/5 as a second Beer Sponsor. They brought a local presence to the Festival and were very active in hosting smaller Octoberfest Events in their Red Baron Lounge in Waterloo

Above is a function with CTV Canada AM star Jeff Hutchison and Jim and the fans spilling outside the Brewery.

Inside the Red Baron Lounge

A reallyunique design float from Brick with the Hat and Oncle Hans

The Brick was a great friend of Oktoberfest but with a change in ownership in 2009, they moved on.

CHAPTER 15 – Recognition of Support for 40 years from J. M. Schneider The success the Festival has enjoyed over 40 years, and counting, is wholly due to the dedication of thousands of Volunteers over the years; as well as, the incredible Corporate support given to the Festival by so many local and National companies. J. M. Schneider is a dedicated Sponsor, having been involved since 1969, contributing Parade Floats celebrating Thanksgiving, the Universal Oktoberfest Sausage, and the Guinness World Record Sausage. Our appreciation to Archivist Karen Trussler who was invited to contribute a piece regarding the involvement of J.M. Schneider with Oktoberfest The following gives us a comprehensive view of their valued presence over 40 Years.

Oktoberfest products 1969

Developed original Oktoberfest Sausage

Oktoberfest Sausage: • Originally only available for the month of October in Ontario • The development of the official Oktoberfest Sausage was an event in itself: Schneider chefs prepared eight flavours of Sausages for the Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest Committee; consisting of chefs, local German club members, the press, the sausage makers and the Dutch Girl! • Very lean, old country style, highly seasoned product. Predominant seasoning is course ground black pepper

Sold almost 50,000 pounds of Oktoberfest Sausage, enough to “stretch around the Twin Cities.” (The Oct 21, 1969 - 16 miles long)


Kurt Koegler, one of Schneiders chefs, celebrates the selection of the Oktoberfest Sausage

1970 • •

Sold 175,000 pounds of Oktoberfest Sausage There was a Schneider’s Oktoberfest Sausage Hotline; including home phone numbers of Schneider marketing, sales and production managers

1971 • Cover of company newsletter shows Oktoberfest production

1974 •

1978 •

Special truck complete with telephone and sign, “Schneiders Special Oktoberfest Delivery”

Oktoberfest Mustard for Consumers arrives in grocery stores

Oktoberfest Sauerkraut

1992 •

Retail packages feature Schmecky

The Oktoberfest Parade • Floats created by Schneider’s own art department; until late 1990s, when design competition began at Conestoga College Graphic Design School • Sponsorship of the parade was a Schneider tradition over most years 1969

Schneiders - The Home of Oktoberfest Sausage


The Three Little Pigs


“Welcome to Oktoberfest”

1974 & 1975 “Schmecky the Oktoberfest Sausage.” First time Schneiders sponsored the Oktoberfest Parade


J.M. Schneider Inc. and T. Eaton Co. “One Mile Long Sausage” proceeds to Big Sister Organization

And every year Schneiders created artistically unique floats…….


“1890-1990 Famous for Quality” - Celebrating Schneiders’ 100th Anniversary

1993 - 25 Years of Gemuetlichkeit - Congratulations from Schneiders

1994, 1995 & 1996 Gemuetlichkeit Banner, featuring Schneider Employees and family members as Ambassadors

2000 - 2002 A Family Tradition for Over 100 Years - designed by Conestoga College Students with support from Schneiders Art Department

2003 & 2004 “Good Food, Good Fun” - designed by Conestoga College Students with support from Schneiders Art Department

Advertising The 401 Billboards 1971 “Welcome to Oktoberfest” and “Enjoy the Oktoberfest Tradition”

Highway 401 Sign was a landmark for everyone driving home from Toronto as they new exactly how long it would take to get home from there. Like Oktoberfest still there after 40 Years – thank you Schneiders.

Schmecky the Sausage Character

Ads for the Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest Programs 1976 1978






Guinness World Record - Longest Sausage

In 1995, Schneiders created a record-breaking Oktoberfest Sausage strand, in partnership with M&M Meat Shops, that earned us a Guinness World Record for the World’s Longest Sausage. The 46.3 km (29 miles) long sausage was made by hand, link by link. It was more than 80 times the height of the CN Tower, and it would take someone more than nine hours to walk the full length of the sausage.


l-r: Doug Dodds, CEO Schneider Corporation, and Mac Voisin, President M&M Meat Shops celebrate world’s longest sausage event with large Oktoberfest Sausage on a bun!

Oktoberfest Flags and Banners over Schneider Company Visitor Entrance

Schneiders Customer Party

• • • •

First held in Howie Schneider’s backyard, 1970 Held at Chicopee Lodge (1973 onward) and Bingeman Park over the years Commemorative Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest pin developed for each year

Three Important Schneider people at their Chicopee tent party-

Left Photo Herb Schneider was a grandson of original J M Schneider who founded the Company in the 1890s In 1970s Herb was Vice President Personell and Public Relations and holds massive stein Schnieders was awarded. He was a well regarded community leader and Oktoberfest supporter. Centre Photo Howie Schneider is on right and his wife Betty Lou, second from left. Howie was Vice President and Director of research and development and in that role was responsible for creating their Oktberfest Sausage and all the other products.

Right Photo Lewis Bradich in center worked with Howie in Product Development and tells how his team worked through 8 or 9 varying recipies until one was picked by their team after many tasting sessions.

1990, Schneiders Customer Party: the Miss Oktoberfest contestants with Herb Schneider at Bingeman Park.


Sponsored King Ludwig’s Castle

JMS Art department helped with design and build of this visitor information centre, set up at Charles and Benton Streets for the duration of KitchenerWaterloo Oktoberfest.

Schneider Oktoberfest Committee Director - Norm Schneider, 1971 Accreditation Chair - Herb Schneider, 1971 Sponsored Honours & Awards: 1990

Herb Schneider is presented with beer stein from Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest

1974 1974 1980 1982 1983 1984 1985 1985 1985 1994 1998 1998 1999 2002 2003 2004 1969 - 2003 2003 2007 2008

1st place ribbon - JM Schneider Salute to Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest 1st Place Class III Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest floats Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest Parade Exceptional Merit Award Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest Parade Exceptional Merit Award Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest Parade Festival Award Outstanding Entry Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest Parade Harvest Award for Outstanding Commercial Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest, for years of support and countless contributions 1969-1985 Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest Festival Award for Outstanding Entry of Parade Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest Board of Directors Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest Miss Oktoberfest Award Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest Wunderbar Gemuetlichkeit Award Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest Wunderbar Harvest Award Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest Hans & Freda Award Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest Miss Oktoberfest Award Miss Oktoberfest Award Miss Oktoberfest Award - Best Visual Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest 35 Years Miss Oktoberfest Award - Best Visual Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest Harvest Award Miss Oktoberfest Award - 40th Anniversary Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest

This was an incredible and continuing record of Community Service from Norman Schneider and his two sons Herb and Howie and their Company.

And now a closing word from the EditorsVolunteers, Participants and the Community received great Benefits over the years from this Community Festival. Firstly, for the hundreds of Volunteers over the years, everyone pulled together in the knowledge that the Festival was creating something that was fun; and more important, of lasting value to the community. Secondly, the Festival enabled participating Service Clubs and Charities to involve themselves in projects that provided substantial new revenue for their organizations, to enhance their charitable work. Thirdly Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest, and its Visitors, all experienced a multi-cultural experience and profited very much in learning the customs, food and music of the communities neighbours. It was truly a win/win endeavour as expressed in the following graphic

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