Thousands of Harley riders are expected in Milwaukee to start a year-long celebration.

The Milwaukee Rally, sponsored by area Harley-Davidson dealerships, starts Thursday night with Lynyrd Skynyrd performing at the Riverside Theater. Organizers call it the Midwest's largest free motorcycle rally.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports the weekend includes a kickoff party for the 110th Harley-Davidson anniversary next year, a look at Harley's 2013 models as well as a bike builder's competition.