Marching on 25 years: Vikingland Band Festival to take place SundayAlexandria’s Vikingland Band Festival parade will turn 25 in grand style, with its biggest lineup in eight years.
Alexandria’s Vikingland Band Festival parade will turn 25 in grand style, with its biggest lineup in eight years.
Twenty-two marching bands are scheduled to perform in the 25th annual parade beginning at 1:30 p.m. this Sunday, June 28.
The Vikingland Band Festival has a reputation as Minnesota’s largest and most prestigious summer marching band competition, according to organizers.
Special additions for the Festival’s 25th year include a mass honor guard to lead the parade and an appearance by the Alexandria Alumni Marching Band.
The alumni band has members representing more than 25 graduating classes ranging from 1961 to 2009.
The alumni band is nearly 100-members strong and additional members are invited to register at www.VikinglandBandFestival.com.
Current Alexandria band directors Todd Blaser and Greg DeGier, as well as past directors, will be on hand for the alumni rehearsal and performance.
Alexandria’s Jefferson High School Marching Band serves as host of the event and will lead the parade, but will not compete for awards.
The full lineup of marching bands includes Alexandria, Albany, Benson, Bertha-Hewitt, Fergus Falls, Foley, Henry Sibley, Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg, Long Prairie-Grey Eagle, Mankato, New York Mills, Osseo, Park Center, St. Cloud, St. Francis, Sauk Rapids-Rice, Waconia, Willmar, Winona Cotter, the 212 Regiment (Montevideo/Yellow Medicine East), the 728 Cadets (Elk River/Rogers/Zimmerman) and the Alexandria Alumni Marching Band.
For the best parade viewing, spectators should gather in the four zones along the parade route where every marching band is certain to perform.
These locations are on Broadway near 6th Avenue for the judges, 11th Avenue for the DVD cameras, plus 8th and 14th Avenues.
Convenient bleacher seating is available for purchase near 6th and 8th Avenues. A DVD featuring aerial views of the parade performances and highlights of the awards ceremony is also available.
This year’s grand marshal is Ken Nelson, the recently retired Bertha-Hewitt band director, who holds the distinction of being the only director to appear in every Vikingland Band Festival to date.
For more information about this event, contact the Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce at 1-800-235-9441 or visit the official website at www.VikinglandBandFestival.com.