Every autumn Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest is held for nine days in the twin cities of Kitchener and Waterloo, Ontario. Kitchener was once named Berlin and has many ethnic German residents, many of whom speak German and preserve German traditions. The festival that originated in 1969 is the second-largest Oktoberfest in the world after the original one in Germany. It attracts more than 700,000 attendees every year. The festivities start on the Friday before Canadian Thanksgiving and end on the next Saturday. The major attraction of the festival is the Thanksgiving Day Parade attended by over 150,000 people. It's the largest such event in Canada.
The opening ceremony of the Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest includes an official keg-tapping at Kitchener City Hall. Rocktoberfest is a large concert with rock and pop music held at Queensmount Arena. The selection of Miss Oktoberfest is also quite a big event at the festival. The winner was once selected in a televised beauty pageant, now the contestants are judged by a closed committee. The applicants must be from the Waterloo area and must participate in community life.
The main festivities take place in festhallen where beer and traditional German foods are accompanied by polka dancing and music. The festhallen is operated by various organizations such as The Concordia Club of Kitchener, the largest German club in Canada, The Alpine Club of Kitchener, Hubertushaus, the German–Canadian Hunting & Fishing Club of Mannheim, The Schwaben Club of Kitchener, and The Transylvania Club of Kitchener.