Mr. Speaker, during this past weekend Kitchener—Waterloo welcomed thousands of visitors from across the continent to kick off the 31st annual Oktoberfest celebrations.
In fact members of this House came to Kitchener to join in the great German tradition. This nine day festival is the largest Bavarian celebration in North America with the greatest Thanksgiving Day parade in Canada.
Oktoberfest has become an important cultural event for our nation. It symbolizes what it is like to live in a multicultural nation.
Through the celebration of this spirit of gemütlichkeit the local economy is stimulated and $18 million is raised annually with $1.8 million going directly to local charities.
I congratulate the over 400 volunteers who make Oktoberfest such a great success each year. In particular I recognize the hard work of Oktoberfest president Auggie Sherban. He should be commended for his outstanding commitment and dedication to this important cultural event.