Guest post by Katherine George Oktoberfest (Oct. 10-18, 2014) is more than a Bavarian booze festival. There are plenty of family-friendly events where kids and parents can experience the spirit of Gemuetlichkeit! Every year, festivalgoers flood the streets, chanting the “Ein Prosit” anthem, as Kitchener-Waterloo hosts Canada’s largest Bavarian festival (Kitchener was once called Berlin). Here are some fun festive events for families to attend. Where to feast Those at Oktoberfest have been known to celebrate with a stein or two of beer, but you must also indulge in a festive feast. Don’t be afraid to loosen the dirndls and lederhosen for events like Oktoberfeast, a food-truck event with various culinary offerings from across southwestern Ontario. At Cooking Like Oma, visitors can enjoy German-themed cooking and crafts while being entertained by traditional German dancers. Family-friendly Oktoberfest games Festing in Kitchener-Waterloo has never been a sideline affair, so get involved in the action by participating in games for the whole family. Roll out the barrel at the 36th annual Oktoberfest barrel race. This team-oriented event challenges families and friends to an old-fashioned relay race. For additional fun, create decorative team wear for the family. While others perfect their boot-drinking skills, take the family to strengthen their muscles at the Bavarian Strongman Challenge. This event brings Ontario’s top-ranked strongmen to Kitchener-Waterloo to compete in five strength and endurance challenges. Individuals will get a chance to participate, too. It wouldn’t be Oktoberfest without a visit to one of the many festhallen, so stop by the Alpine Club for the annual So You Think You Can Tanz competition, where local German dance groups compete for first place. Then, take a twirl to some traditional polka music. Also, don’t miss the human foosball tournament in uptown Waterloo! Cultural events for the family Oktoberfest’s cultural roots sprout from a strong German heritage. The Fall Harvest at the Waterloo Region Museum allows families to take a trip back to 1914 while walking through the Doon Heritage Village. The living-history village gives visitors a peek at the era by showcasing historic buildings, furnishings, farm animals and the daily goings-on of Waterloo’s first settlers. Kids can enjoy horse-drawn wagon rides, live music and other seasonal activities. German Pioneers Day exhibits memorabilia of the founding pioneering families and institutions in Kitchener-Waterloo, including personal, historical and cultural artifacts. Where to spend Thanksgiving at Oktoberfest The Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest festival holds Canada’s largest Thanksgiving Day parade. Thousands of people line the streets to witness the colourful floats, special entries and award-winning bands from Canada and the United States. Take a family vote and choose a winner for the People’s Choice Float. To escape the crowd, stop in at the Walper Hotel’s Thanksgiving Day Breakfast Buffet and watch the Oktoberfest parade march by. This Bavarian breakfast will be presented by Top Chef Canada finalist Terry Salmond. Oktoberfest offers a traditional taste for everyone. The kids will love getting up close and personal with festival ambassadors like Onkel Hans, Ziggy unt Zaggy Steiner and Miss Oktoberfest at these events. For further information on all Kitchener-Waterloo events, visit oktoberfest.ca. Prost! Feel like cooking a German recipe to get in the spirit? Try Canadian Living's Chicken Schnitzel! Photo courtesy of Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest.