LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) -

The 56th Oktoberfest is officially underway.

The first day of this year's Fest was capped off by the annual Torchlight Parade through La Crosse's north side Thursday night.

Hundreds of people lined the streets to see floats and marching bands decked out in lights for the night time parade.

This year's Torchlight parade marshal is Louie Ferris, who's a lifetime resident of the north side. He says his house along the parade route was packed with family members who came to see him.

But those aren't the only people he's talked to that have come far for this year's Fest.

"People come from all over. I met some people from Canada that were here, some from Minneapolis Oktoberfesting," said Ferris. "That word Gumutlichkeit is so neat. And everybody talks to you like they're related to you, it's just so happy. It's a nice time of the year."

There are two more official parades for this year's Fest. The Edelweiss Parade comes before tomorrow's Opening Ceremonies and starts at 10 a.m. at Riverside Park. The Maple Leaf Parade starts at 10 on Saturday morning.