(Alexandria, MN) Marching bands from across Minnesota will gather in Alexandria this weekend for the 35th Annual Vikingland Band Festival. The parade featuring more than 1,700 performers in 21 marching units will travel down Broadway on Sunday, June 30, beginning at 1:30 PM.

A highlight of the festival will be the Alexandria Alumni Band which gathers every five years. This year’s edition has drawn more than 70 members from six states who represent 31 different graduating classes between 1981 and 2019.  In honor of the Festival’s 35th year, eight long-serving former committee members are being honored as grand marshals. The honorees are Melody Thoennes, Michael Bouressa, Kathy Tauber, Al Quam, Debbi Rydberg, Monique Sebring, Louise Cook and Steve Cook.

The weekend of marching music will kick off with the Minnesota Drum Corps Premiere and Vikingland Band Festival Preview at Alexandria Area High School on Saturday, June 29, at 7:00 PM. The event will showcase River City Rhythm Drum & Bugle Corps in its season debut, along with musical performances by 728 Cadets, Dassel-Cokato Marching Chargers and Alexandria Marching Band. Tickets can be purchased online at VikinglandBandfestival.com or at the gate.

The Alexandria Marching Band serves as host band for the weekend and will perform at the field event, in the parade and at the awards ceremony.  The parade travels south on Broadway from 4th Avenue to 15th Avenue. For the best viewing, spectators are invited to gather in four performance zones where every band is certain to play. These zones are along Broadway near 6th, 8th, 11th and 14th Avenues.

This year’s lineup promises to be a treat for spectators, according to committee chair Greg DeGier. “The bands are very competitive and well prepared this year, and we have four bands in the lineup that weren’t here last year,” DeGier said. “Bands have been trading victories at other events this month, so you know the students are working hard this week to give their absolute best effort in Alexandria.”

The 21 units in the parade will perform in the following order: Alexandria, Winona Cotter, Bemidji, Milaca, Mankato 77 Lancers, Sauk Rapids-Rice, Solar Sound, Alexandria Alumni Band, Albany, Sartell, Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg, St. Michael-Albertville, Dassel-Cokato, Lakes International Language Academy, 728 Cadets, Hutchinson, Henry Sibley, Fergus Falls, Richfield, Waconia and Champlin Park.

The Vikingland Band Festival is made possible by the generous support of more than 50 sponsors and dozens of volunteers. Platinum sponsors for 2019 are Walmart, Geneva Capital, Explore Alexandria, the Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce, School District 206, Echo Press and Livewire Entertainment.

The Alexandria Police Department reminds everyone there will be no parking on Broadway from 4th Avenue to 15th Avenue. Any vehicles not moved by 12:30 PM on Sunday will be towed to make way for the parade. Drivers should use caution near 6th and 8th Avenues as bleachers will be set up in the intersections early Sunday morning.

The Vikingland Band Festival committee thanks residents along 4th Avenue West and the surrounding streets for their cooperation as those streets will be used for the parade lineup area. “No Parking” signs will be put in place on Saturday evening and the streets should be cleared of vehicles by Sunday morning as the bands begin to line up.

For more information, visit the official website at VikinglandBandFestival.com.

Ken Martinson, Greg DeGier. Melody Thoennes, Louise and Steve Cook appeared on the June 28th Openline radio program on KXRA.  Here are parts one and two of this program (AUDIO BELOW)

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