CAMBRIDGE - The official keg tap is still a couple of days away, but Oktoberfest celebrations are starting early in Cambridge.

Hundreds turned out to the Cambridge Civic Square for the unofficial kickoff.

People there will watch as a keg is tapped and the maypole is raised. They'll also enjoy lunch and music.

Cambridge Mayor Kathryn McGarry was there, alongside the newly-crowned Miss Oktoberfest, Erin Wetzel.

This is the sixth year for the Cambridge Oktoberfest. The city says it enjoys being the first to kick off the Bavarian festival.

"We wanted to make sure that the excitement in the region starts here with Cambridge and then continues over the next 10 days for the official ceremonies up in Kitchener and Waterloo," McGarry says.

"But Cambridge is absolutely delighted to sort of kick this off, get our festive spirit on and go forth and enjoy the festival."

The party starts in Waterloo on Thursday before the official opening ceremonies in Kitchener on Friday.

Kitchener's keg-tapping has a new venue this year: instead of city hall, the opening ceremonies will be held at the corner of King and Frederick.