It’s Oktoberfest Time! Or is it???

In the spirit of Gemutlichkeit my husband and I decided to try and wrassle up some friends for some good old Oktoberfest fun. Problem is – we were dealing with a few roadblocks.

We live in Cambridge. This year is the first year where Cambridge would be hosting our very own Oktoberfest. The more we talked about it, the more excited we became. We started talking to others through one of our favourite forms of dialogue, twitter. And all we heard was a handful of people interested in going. They didn’t know anything about it however – and were looking to my hubby and myself to organize everything.

As anyone living in the Kitchener-Waterloo area is aware – tickets are a very hot commodity – especially when the event has already started. People really love their Polka around this time of year, and really enjoy getting out and getting as drunk as humanly possible without hopefully vomiting on someones shoes. Any of the Kitchener-Waterloo festhalls will sell out well before Oktoberfest starts so our plan to go at this late in the game was a little behind.

We started searching online and although we did find that the website was selling tickets, we were disappointed to find out that the tickets involved not only taxes – but service charges as well. This brought the price much higher than the $12 they would be charging at the door. In the day in age where you want to sell tickets in advance, wouldn’t you think the tickets should be cheaper?

We kept searching around and other than find a phone number for a person with the Rotary, we couldn’t find any other way that we could buy tickets. And heaven knows – if there are phones involved, me and my husband are just not interested. We are tech savvy, you would think a world class event like Oktoberfest would be tech savvy too. We were even willing to drive somewhere in town if we could, but there was no where to be found unless it was during the day. We work and telling the boss that we were leaving for an hour to go get tickets to Oktoberfest just wouldn’t fly.

I sent a tweet to @kw_oktoberfest – the official twitter name for Oktoberfest and nearly a week later had not had a reply. My simple little question about how the tickets were selling in Cambridge and if any were left were ignored. It seems that Cambridge is small potatoes when compared to their big Kitchener-Waterloo cousins. But I wasn’t completely put off. I wanted some good smooth beer and was really hoping I could get some.

It was with excitement that we found an article about the new Cambridge Festhall in the Cambridge Times this week. We were hoping for more information about where and when we can get tickets. Unfortunately it really didn’t reveal much other than getting them at the door or potentially buying them from City Hall. We know from experience that you can drive into the Oktoberfest headquarters and pick them up – but that means heading into Kitchener. A lot of driving for us considering we really are within walking distance of the mall where the Cambridge Oktoberfest is being held.

Now folks – wouldn’t it be nice to buy them from City Hall in advance of the event? Oh yeah – that’s right – City Hall didn’t get their tickets until Wednesday – the very first day that they were opening the Festhall. I have an inside source – don’t ask me how – but they told me that the tickets just weren’t available yet and they had no idea how we could get some in advance.

So here we are – wanting to support our community getting Oktoberfest but with no idea if it was worth trying to get in. We start talking to our peeps about the situation and when all of them found out the tickets weren’t just $10.62 as advertised on the Oktoberfest website and were instead over $12 – they all started bowing out. It seems they had heard the rumors of high beer prices. When you couple that with a high door price per person and so much red tape that you didn’t even know if you could get in – they just decided they weren’t going to go.

The hubby and myself would love to be able to go out and support our community. So we’ve decided instead of taking our chances you will now find us on a patio, possibly in Preston, drinking some beers at a regular rate – not paying a huge door price – and enjoying what Cambridge has to offer.

For those of you in the Cambridge Rotary, I hope you enjoy your event. I also hope that you learn a few lessons for next year on how to better a) promote and b) sell tickets to the working stiffs like me.

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