They will be rolling out the barrels, or at least one barrel, outside Kitchener City Hall today.

The official kickoff for the 44th annual K-W Oktoberfest happens later this afternoon in the Civic Square.

There will be music, dancing and, of course, the traditional tapping of the keg.  

The festival will run nine days and is expected to attract over 700,000 participants.

Today’s ceremonies run from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Organizers say this year’s Oktoberfest is bigger and better than ever with over 40 family and cultural events along with well over a dozen festhalls.

Highlights include the nation’s largest Thanksgiving Day parade and tomorrow’s free breakfast (hosted by 570 News and the Rogers Kitchener Radio Group) at the public square in Uptown Waterloo.

The Saturday breakfast starts at 7:30am.