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Oktoberfest glockenspiel making a comeback


(Kitchener-Waterloo, ON. May. 1st, 2014) The Oktoberfest glockenspiel will be returned to its former glory and once again chime the time in downtown Kitchener.

City councillors voted Monday to pay up to half the $398,000 cost to refurbish the community icon and reinstall it at Speaker's Corner on King and Benton streets.

"It is entertaining," Coun. Frank Etherington said. "Kids love it.

"It sort of reminds me of one of those old merry-go-rounds."

The animated, electronic gadget depicts Grimm's fairy tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, with 23 bells programmed to play the story's music. In past years, the show has played once daily during the year and hourly during Oktoberfest.

The bells chime every half-hour to signal the time.

It was taken down and put in storage in 2009 when the city reconstructed King Street. The city committed at that time to help get it up and running in future.

A consultant was hired to determine what it would cost to revamp the glockenspiel and to buy a new one. Refurbishment was pegged at about $392,000 while a new gadget would cost about $630,000.

Oktoberfest will fundraise its share of the costs.

Some in-kind pledges for construction expertise and labour have already been secured.

Etherington said he was pleased to hear the community will help get the glockenspiel fixed up.

"It is a very well established part of Oktoberfest," he said.

The Oktoberfest glockenspiel was built in Holland and was installed at Speaker's Corner in 1976, according to a staff report.

The glockenspiel could be reinstalled in time for the 2014 festival, which starts Oct.10.

pdesmond@therecord.com ; Twitter: @DesmondRecord


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