by Alex Kinsella | August 2023
Summer might be coming to an end, but for Waterloo Region, that’s when the real fun begins! In this month’s Things to Do in Waterloo Region, we’ve got delicious food, fantastic art, great live music, and the hottest Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest event of the year — Goat Fest. Read on to find out more!
Here’s our list of great events to check out this September in Waterloo Region!
TWB Co-Op’s Summer Send-Off Patio Party | September 1-3
Say goodbye to summer at the TWB Co-Op’s Summer Send-Off Patio Party. On September 1, dance the night away at Retro Night from 7 to 9 p.m. Then, on September 2, local band Just Fine will be on the patio stage as Lord of the Tacos serves up tasty tacos. Finally, on September 3, Busk & Brews brings out TWB’s magician, JP Magic, for an evening of sleight-of-hand entertainment.
Kitchener Rangers Fan Fest | September 3
Bring the family to the Aud for the annual Kitchener Rangers Fan Fest and BBQ from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. This year’s Kitchener Rangers will be there signing autographs, and there are awesome activities for kids of all ages. After the BBQ, head into the Aud as the Rangers take on the Oshawa Generals in an exciting exhibition game. All proceeds from the BBQ and the game support Make-A-Wish Canada. Pro tip: Leave the car at home and take the ION to the Aud. Grand River Transit’s weekend family pass is only $8 for your whole family. Take the ION to the Borden Station, and the Aud is a short walk up Borden Ave.
KWFamous Art Hop | September 8-9
Explore the weirder side of Waterloo Region’s art scene during KW Famous’ Art Hop. The two-day festival features seven unique events across Waterloo Region, with everything from breakdancing to pottery to a rooftop concert. We’re looking forward to the Area 51⁹ Secret Field Trip, which will “abduct” guests from Catalyst Commons to a top-secret location (word is you’ll find yourself at the newly opened Gaslight District in Cambridge, but you didn’t hear that from us!).
Family Fun Day at Heidelberg Community Park | September 9
The Heidelberg Community Association is hosting a Family Fun Day at Heidelberg Community Park on September 9 from 3 to 6 p.m. The fun day includes a bouncy castle, a fire truck, face painting, and more.
Canadian Clay & Glass Museum Turns 30 | September 9
For over 30 years, the Canadian Clay & Glass Museum has showcased the unique talents of clay, glass, and vitreous enamelling artists from across Canada. The museum invites you to celebrate its 30th anniversary on September 9 with two events. First, the Celebrate 30 Crafternoon has family-friendly activities for all ages from 1 to 5 p.m. At night, the museum hosts the Celebrate 30 Gala with a DJ and dancing, delicious catering and cash bar, creative activities, a silent auction, and unlimited access to the gallery’s exhibition space for an evening of fun and celebration!
Snyder’s Farm Opening Day – September 9
From family fun to fearful frights, Synder’s Farm has something for everyone. Opening day is September 9, where you can explore its play areas, pirate ships, petting zoo, pedal carts, jumping pillows, and an awesome corn maze. Synder’s Farm also has evening campfires for families and friends to get together over s’mores and great conversation. On September 30, the world-famous Synder Fear Farm opens for the season. What’s happening in the pitch-black corn maze at night? What lies in the haunted carnival? Find out for yourself—if you dare.
Dozynki: Polish Harvest & Food Festival | September 10
Fall festivals in Waterloo Region are the place to be for food, music, and culture. Get your festival circuit started with the Dozynki: Polish Harvest & Food Festival in Breslau on September 10. The day features pierogi, cabbage rolls, Polish pastries, music, and great community fun.
Doors Open Waterloo Region | September 16
For the first time since 2019, Doors Open Waterloo Region returns for in-person tours of 20 unique sites. This year, you can see inside the Detweiler Meetinghouse and Roseville Cemetery in Ayr, the Idea Exchange (Old Post Office) in Cambridge, the Waterloo Central Railway Restoration and Maintenance Facility, and more.
Royal Medieval Faire | September 16
Get ready to go medieval at the 26th annual Royal Medieval Faire in Waterloo Park. Transport yourself to the past with swordplay, games, vendors, music, dancing, food and drink (no ale, sadly), and more! Pro tip: While there’s no ale at the faire, you can still fill your mug at the Duke of Wellington Pub in Uptown Waterloo. The authentic English pub has been a Waterloo staple for over 40 years and recently moved into its new location at 100 King Street South.
Multicultural Festival of Elmira | September 16
Hearts Open for Everyone presents the first-ever Multicultural Festival of Elmira on September 16. Enjoy a day of eclectic live performances, vendors, kids’ entertainment, and food trucks. You’ll experience a Turkish musical performance by the always amazing Juneyt, Mexican dancing from Camexicanus, and an opening ceremony from Crow Shield Lodge.
rare Trail Party | September 17
Help protect and conserve land in Waterloo Region and Wellington County at the rare Trail Part at the rare Conservation Area. There’s something for everyone, whether you run, walk, or roll! Take on a 3.5 km walk, a 4.5 km adventurous walk with views of breathtaking cliffs, or challenge yourself with the 5 km fun run. BBQ and live music are included in the race registration cost. Every $2 raised protects one square metre of environmentally sensitive land today and for future generations.
Gluten Free Fest | September 17
If you’re constantly searching for gluten-free goodness, the Gluten Free Fest is for you! Discover the latest and greatest gluten-free products from local, regional, and Canadian vendors. Pro tip: I have Celiac disease, so I feel your pain when it comes to finding great gluten-free treats. Check out Winnie’s Gluten-Free Bakery in Belmont Village or Gluten Free by Suzie in The Boardwalk for great selections of fresh and frozen bread, cakes, pizza dough, and more.
An Evening with Lisa Laflamme | September 21
The Waterloo Region Record’s Luisa D’Amato sits down with Canadian television news icon Lisa Laflamme for an in-depth conversation about her experiences travelling, reporting on world-changing events, and the importance of journalism for democracies. Pro tip: Make a reservation at odd duck wine & provisions for dinner after the talk. Beyond being delicious, the restaurant’s cook and owner, Jon Rennie, has built a culture where mental health for the staff comes first — including being one of the region’s first no-tipping establishments.
St. Jacobs Market District Harvest Hoedown | September 22
Kick off fall with line dancing, live country music, and craft beer and cider at the St. Jacob Market District Hoedown. The shops and vendors of the St. Jacobs Farmers Market will be open for this one-night-only licensed event.
Lumen Festival | September 23
The Lumen Festival returns to Uptown Waterloo on September 23 for a night of light, art, and technology. Lumen features over 30 visual, interactive, new media, and performance-based installations at locations like the Centre for International Governance Innovation, the Waterloo Public Library, and the Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery.
Our Love of Fabric Quilt Show | September 29 and 30
Busy Hands Quilt Guild and Pieces and Patches Quilters’ Guild of Cambridge are hosting the Our Love of Fabric Quilt Show at 361 King Street East in Cambridge. Visitors will get to see over 200 beautiful, handcrafted quilts. The two-day event will also have a cafe, prizes, and vendors.
Wellesley Apple Butter and Cheese Festival | September 30
Nothing kicks off fall like the annual Wellesley Apple Butter and Cheese Festival on September 30. The day-long festival features a pancake and sausage breakfast, the Queens Bush Road Street Mall with apple fritters, fry pies, caramel apples, craft cider, and live music by Turning Corners throughout the day.
Wonderfully Made Harvest Market | September 30
Take a trip to Ayr to check out the vendors of the Wonderfully Made Harvest Market at the North Dumfries Community Complex. They’ll have hundreds of unique gifts from local artisans and makers.
K-W Central Art Walk | September 30 and October 1
Waterloo Region’s original studio tour and sale returns on September 30 and October 1. The K-W Central Art Walk features artists of almost every medium—fine art, jewelry, paintings, food, photography, pottery, glass, collage and fibre arts—in their studios. Learn more about the artists and routes on their website.
Two Oktoberfest Rockin’ Road Trip Ideas
Two Rockin’ Oktoberfest Road Trip Ideas
Oktoberfest in September?? You bet! Kitchener Waterloo Oktoberfest is expanding its fun with events and festhallen getting underway in September. It’s also expanding its entertainment options – mixing big name rock acts with traditional Bavarian bands for an eclectic Oktoberfest experience. It’s the perfect reason to plan a September road trip that’s Wunderbar so you can be part of Canada’s largest Bavarian festival!
Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest has not one, but two weekends of live music at Bingemans Koolhaus in September. Make it a weekend rockin’ road trip to Waterloo Region and stay in Kitchener or St. Jacobs to get your ziggy-zaggy started.
Road Trip #1: September 22 & 23
Once you’re settled in, grab a cab or Uber and head to Bingemans on September 22 to see Marianas Trench live on the Koolhaus Stage with “haus band” The Golden Keys as the opening act. Bingemans is one of the best venues to experience the Gemütlichkeit that Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest is known for!
On Saturday, September 23, grab a sausage on a bun or apple fritter at the St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market to fuel up for the day!
Head back to Bingemans for the first-ever Goat Fest to experience some of the most scorching hot sauces to ever come out of a bottle. Brought to you by the fine folks at Ginger Goat Hot Sauce, Goat Fest is bringing more than 20 hot sauce vendors together to challenge your tastebuds. They’ll also have live music and craft beer to help you cool down. Stick around Bingemans for David Wilcox on the Koolhaus stage live at 9 p.m.
Insider’s Tip: Kitchener’s Concordia Club is dubbed the ‘Home of Oktoberfest’. Although Concordia’s festhall doesn’t open its doors until October 6th, you can reserve a table at its Schenke Restaurant as part of your road trip and sample traditional German food faire including spätzle, Bavarian smoked Pork Hocks, cabbage rolls, schnitzel, and Apple Strudel (yum!)
Road Trip #2: September 29 & 30
Need more rock and roll (and bratwurst) in your life? On Friday, September 29, Bingemans Koolhaus has The Trews live on stage with special guest DJs and Haus Band, The Golden Keys starting at 7 p.m.
Friday is also the first day of Oktoberfest at the Schwaben Club — one of Kitchener’s original German clubs. Its new location at 50 Scheifele Place in Breslau is the perfect spot for music, dancing, great German beer, and more.
On Saturday, September 30, Bingemans KinderFest is back for another year of Bavarian-themed fun and events for you and your family at Bingemans. The event features inflatables, games, children’s entertainment, live performances by Erick Traplin, and some more!
Finally, on Saturday night, head to Bingemans Koolhaus for a night of 90s rock nostalgia with an epic performance by Finger Eleven starting at 7 p.m.
Insider’s Tip: Hungry for a taste of Oktoberfest? Bingemans’ Ultimate Bavarian Feast offers authentic German schnitzel, Oktoberfest sausage, sauerkraut, spaetzle, and of course craft beer!
Whichever weekend you’re planning for your Rockin’ Oktoberfest Road Trip, don’t forget to dress the part! Embrace the spirit of Oktoberfest by donning a dirndl or lederhosen. These traditional outfits pay homage to Bavarian heritage and add a festive flair to the celebrations. Official Oktoberfest swag is available on the website.
Hopefully, this preview of Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest inspires you to come back in October for the festival events and festhallen running through October 14! Have a great time – and Prosit!!