Little Italy's Feast of San Gennaro is set to kick off its 87th annual festival Thursday as more than a million revelers are expected to show up.

The celebration, which will run until Sept. 22, will feature a cannoli eating contest, a grand procession with floats and marching bands, free entertainment daily, a pizza eating contest and more.

"This Feast of San Gennaro holds a special place in the place of Italian people everywhere," said Joseph Mattone, President of Figli di San Gennaro, Inc.

"It is a festive period of faith and redemption, a time for remembrance and reconciliation, and a time for celebration," he said.

"The delicious food, the free musical entertainment that reflects Italian-American culture and heritage are all there," he added.

Some of the major events to check out over the next week-and-a-half:12th Annual Cannoli Eating Competition, Thursday between 2 p.m. and 3p.m.: Sanctioned by the International Federation of Competitive Eaters, competitors will have six minutes to chow down on as many cannolis as they can.

Grand Procession, Sept. 14 at 2 p.m.: Floats, marching bands, and the statue of San Gennaro will parade through the streets of Little Italy.

Pizza Eating Contest, Sept. 18 between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.: Eaters will compete for top pizza honors in this annual tradition.

Feast Day, Sept. 19: A High Mass in honor of San Gennaro in Most Precious Blood Church, the National Sanctuary of San Gennaro, includes a performance from Cristina Fontanelli.