Kitchener mayor kicks off this year’s festival season

By Justine Fraser

The City of Kitchener is officially kicking off the 2024 festival season with a new event called WelcomeFest that’s free and marks the start of the season.

“Literally every weekend from now until September, there is something going on in the downtown core and we thought let’s start it off with a bang,” Steve Roth, manager of special events for Kitchener, said.

This morning around 11 a.m. Kitchener’s Mayor Berry Vrbanovic made an announcement about what’s in store for the community this season.

June starts with Tri-Pride summer festival and ends with the KW Multicultural festival. Other popular events coming up include Cruising on King, Bluesfest, Ribfest and the Wayback Festival — which will be headlined by Tom Cochrane.

The mayor also announced an exciting guest for Canada Day this year: April Wine.

“As we embark on this exciting season let’s remember the power of arts and culture to inspire and uplift us. Whether you’re a lifelong resident or a visitor discovering our community for the first time, I encourage you to dive right into the festivities,” Vrbanovic said during the announcement.

A new event will be coming to Kitchener in August called Caribana Ignite. Vrbanovic also said another brand-new festival is coming in September but more details about that will come at a later date this summer.

In an interview with CityNews 570, Vrbanovic said the city knows times are tough and was happy to be able to provide a free event for everyone.

“One of the things we’ve heard from the community is how much they value and appreciate our community events, they are a great place to come together to build a sense of belonging. The fact that they’re free just makes it a little easier for everyone.”

“There’s much more to come in Kitchener,” added Vrbanovic.

The 2024 festival season wraps up at the end of September with the 56 annual Oktoberfest.


  • 1st – Tri-Pride Summer Festival
  • 8th – Afrovibes Festival
  • 15th – Neighbours Day
  • 22nd & 23rd – KW Multicultural Festival


  • 1st – Canada Day
  • 12th – Cruising on King
  • 17th – LoveMyHood Neighbourhood celebration
  • 19th to 21st – Ribfest and Craft Beer Show
  • 26th to 27th – Wayback Festival


  • 8th to 11th – Bluesfest
  • 18th – Kidspark
  • 18th – Far East Asian Night Market
  • 23rd to 24th – Caribana Ignite

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