Perhaps one of the most widely recognized events associated with Kitchener Waterloo’s Oktoberfest is the iconic Thanksgiving Day Parade. Like all of Oktoberfest’s events this too is organized by a team of dedicated volunteers. Or more like 10 teams!

With 10 subcommittees, each dedicated to a very particular area of the parade, Chair Eric Scheffler along with Director Jean Weiler keeps this machine moving all together and in the same direction. His committee meetings have the chair of each attend to report of their progress. He credits the great help he has on these subcommittees for making it all happen. He also works closely with Jackie Herrgott, Chair of Onkel Hans Food Drive Committee ensuring they stay informed.

Executive                             Marshaling
Bands                                   Production
Bleachers                            Signs
Float Construction             Sponsors’ Reception/Judges
Float Maintenance            Warehouse

In total, the Parades Committees have 83 volunteers working well in advance of the event. Each subcommittee may have as few as 5-6 people on them, but some, like Marshals, has up to 25 people on them. Add to that another 125 volunteers that come out on event day alone and that means a lot of man hours goes into making this spectacle happen.

So what are some of the things that these committees do? One committee focuses solely on going from school to school to recruit the students that carry the signs before each entry and act as the clowns in the parade. The Marshal Committee spends two Saturdays in September cleaning all the floats after being in storage all year. Prior to the Parade, there is an All Services meeting which includes representatives from both cities’ Traffic Departments, representatives from the Region, Police, Fire, EMS, GRT, as well as mechanics and a tow truck driver. Chaired by Jean, Eric, vice-chairs and chairs of Marshals Committee, this meeting organizes street closures, emergency services and reviews special guests to ensure a smooth operation of the parade. On Parade Day, everyone works together throughout the route to ensure there are no gaps in the parade

If you have always wondered what it took to put this amazing event together, a few of the committees could use some help – like Parade Productions and Marshals. And if you know a high school student who is looking for volunteer hours, tell them to consider working for the Parade!

Hope to see you out on Parade Day!