From Norway to Alexandria, band fest is a hit
It was another successful year for the Vikingland Band Festival.
Organizers said an international lineup, sunny skies, a nice breeze and one of the best awards ceremonies in recent memory were all hallmarks that added to the success of this year's 26th annual Vikingland Band Festival.
Although there were plenty of people packed in the limited shady areas along Broadway, the sun may have been a bit too much for some band festival participants.
LuWanna Johnson, this year's Vikingland Band Festival coordinator, heard that Osseo had at least seven band members affected by the heat, and a couple of other bands had members who were down because of it.
However, Johnson learned that Osseo had also performed on Saturday and said maybe they were just "exhausted."
Despite the heat, Johnson said the rest of the parade went off without a hitch.
After Sunday afternoon's parade, there were an estimated 3,500 students, parents and fans who attended the awards presentation at Citizen's Field at Jefferson High School.
The Mankato 77 Lancers earned both the Grand Champion and the People's Choice honors, said Johnson. Their program was titled, "Dance for Unity."
Park Center, Waconia and Sauk Rapids-Rice rounded out the top four bands in a close contest - the winning margin was just 0.25 points, said Johnson.
Alexandria's Jefferson High School Marching Band served as host for the band festival and did not compete for awards.
The Notteroy School Band from Norway served as the honor band of the festival and also did not compete for awards.
Johnson said she heard from members of the Notteroy School Band that they received a warm reception along the parade route and at the awards ceremony.
"It was such a fabulous experience working with them," said Johnson.
Ken Martinson from marching.com, who has been involved with the Vikingland Band Festival for years, said the Norway band members said the Vikingland Band Festival was better than expected.
"They couldn't believe the large crowds and the warm reception they received from the community of Alexandria," said Martinson. "Today [Monday], they were going to visit the Mall of America, but they'll be back in Alexandria on Tuesday to play concerts for Bethany Home and Knute Nelson."
Martinson noted that there was a crowd of about 900 who attended the Root Beer Float Concert on Saturday.
The concert began with the Notteroy Band joining the Alexandria Marching Band to play the national anthem from each country and the crowd gave the Norwegians no less than seven standing ovations, noted Martinson.
There was a grand marshal reunion that took place on Saturday at Sixth Avenue Wine and Ale and it was reported that 12 of the 18 living former grand marshals were in attendance, according to Martinson.
First place - Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg.
Second place - Bertha-Hewitt.
Third place - Albany.
Fourth place - New York Mills.
Fifth place - Long Prairie-Grey Eagle.
Winds, percussion and color guard - Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg.
First place - Sauk Rapids-Rice.
Second place - Winona Cotter.
Third place - 212th Regiment.
Fourth place - Benson.
Fifth place - Henry Sibley.
Winds, percussion and color guard - Sauk Rapids-Rice.
First place - Waconia.
Second place - 728 Cadets.
Third place - Osseo.
Fourth place - Fergus Falls.
Fifth place - Bemidji.
Winds, percussion and color guard - Waconia.
First place - Mankato 77 Lancers.
Second place - Park Center.
Third place - Buffalo.
Fourth place - St. Cloud All-City.
Fifth place - Anoka.
Winds - Mankato 77 Lancers.
Percussion - Anoka.
Color guard - Park Center.
People's Choice - Mankato 77 Lancers.
Grand champion - Mankato 77 Lancers.