Sioux Falls’ 35th annual Festival of Bands kicks off Saturday morning, with 40 bands from South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska and Minnesota competing for first place honors in the parade, field competition and evening finals.
The city’s five host bands − Washington, Roosevelt, Jefferson, Lincoln and O’Gorman High Schools − perform exhibition-only in the parade, and at the evening field finals. All proceeds from the day’s events are equally distributed to the five band departments.
It’s a chance for Sioux Falls residents to cheer on all five high schools along with other area bands, especially the Lincoln High School Patriot Marching Band, which won the Bands of America regional competition in Waukee, Iowa, on Saturday.
The Patriot band made history as the first-ever South Dakota band to win the regional competition against 15 other bands. The closest a South Dakota band has come to winning the competition was in 1985, when Lincoln won second place.
The event is run by more than 30 volunteer members, who spend more than half a year organizing the festival. They’re supported by more than 400 parent volunteers from the community, who help coordinate and run the day’s events, which sees more than 5,000 students and more than 10,000 spectators each year.
What to know about the parade:
Thirty-one bands will march in the parade starting at 8 a.m. Sioux Falls School District Superintendent Jane Stavem is the parade’s grand marshal this year.
The parade will be held adjacent to Covell Lake and near the field competition at Howard Wood Field, starting on West Madison Street and turning onto North Lake Avenue. The parade judging platform will be on North Lake Avenue behind the Boy Scouts headquarters.
A motorcade from the Sioux Falls Police Department will lead the parade, followed by El Riad Fife and Drum, Washington and Roosevelt.
Tea Area, McCook Central, George Little Rock, Menno, Adrian, Alcester-Hudson, Beresford, Murray County Central, West Central, Sioux Falls Christian, Luverne, Pipestone, Vermillion, Madison, Milbank, Sioux Falls Lutheran, Tracy Area and Jefferson will follow.
Then, three Sioux Falls middle schools − Ben Reifel, Patrick Henry and Memorial − will strut in the parade, followed by Bishop Heelan Catholic School, Waseca, Lincoln Northeast, then hosts Lincoln High School and O’Gorman High School, followed by the Sound of USD.
What is the field competition?
Bands compete according to their enrollment size in categories 1A, 2A, 3A and 4A. First, second and third place plaques and trophies are awarded in the parade and preliminary field competitions in each group.
Following the parade, 25 bands will take part in the preliminary field competition at Howard Wood Field, with gates opening at 8:45 a.m. and competition starting at 9:45 a.m. with Chamberlain, Sibley-Ocheyedan, Sheldon, Vermillion, Luverne, Lennox, West Central, Pipestone, Madison and West Lyon.
At 12:15 p.m., judges will announce A and AA awards for those bands, as well as all of the parade awards, before kicking off class AAA and AAAA performances from MOC Floyd Valley, Waverly, Waseca, Huron, Mitchell, Brookings, Yankton, Harrisburg, Columbus, Lincoln Northeast, Norfolk, Marshall, Aberdeen, Sioux City North and Brandon Valley.
There will be a performance from Jefferson and the Sound of USD before AAA and AAAA awards are announced at 5:30 p.m.
The top bands will advance to the evening field competition finals at Howard Wood Field starting at 6 p.m. FInals will begin at 6 p.m. with Augustana University performing the national anthem and their field performance, then performances from hosts Roosevelt and Washington.
The top 10 bands that made finals will begin performances at 6:45 p.m., followed by a 9:15 p.m. performance from O’Gorman and 9:30 p.m. performance from Lincoln High School. Final awards will be announced at 9:45 p.m.
Admission to the field competition is by wristband only, which can be purchased in advance at all Lewis Drug locations in Sioux Falls and Brandon, or from volunteers at the parade and Howard Wood Field on the day of the festival. Admission fees are $15 for adults, $10 for students and free for children age 5 and under.
A free live stream of the field competition, both the preliminary and finals, will be available at festivalofbands.com.
This article originally appeared on Sioux Falls Argus Leader: Sioux Falls Festival of Bands kicks off 35th year on Saturday