KITCHENER, Ont. — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau kicked off the city’s renowned Oktoberfest Friday, telling an appreciative crowd that he might wear lederhosen next year.
On an unusually warm day in brilliant sunshine, Trudeau did the ceremonial tapping of the keg in front of city hall to set the suds flowing and get a week of festivities underway.
“One thing that I’ve learned in politics is that festivals are like children — you’re not supposed to have a favourite,” an enthusiastic Trudeau told the hundreds of onlookers.
“But when you get a crowd like this and you get to tap a keg, I have to say: How can this not be one of the favourite things on the calendar?”
Among those in attendance were Premier Kathleen Wynne, the city’s mayor, numerous other local and regional dignitaries, and various provincial and federal politicians.
Billed as Canada’s greatest Bavarian festival, this is the 48th annual incarnation of the extended party, which runs until Oct. 15.
The region expects as many as 700,000 festival goers during the event that features German music, food, and culture – and beer.
Dressed in a shirt and tie, Trudeau quipped about having wanted to wear lederhosen for the occasion, saying that he would consult his people and might do so in 2017.
The prime minister praised the diversity of the crowd that included people of all ages who had come out for what he called an “amazing piece” of Canada’s history.
However, he did make a point of keeping his speech short.
“I know how dangerous it is to stand between a thirsty crowd of Oktoberfesters and their beer,” he said.