ALGONA - Thousands of spectators grabbed viewing spots in anticipation of the 60th annual Algona Band Day Festival parade on Saturday.
An hour before the parade began, State Street in downtown Algona was already lined with hundreds of lawn chairs two rows deep.
Algona Police Officer Bo Miller said that the town was expecting a crowd of anywhere between 6,000 to 8,000 people.
Scarlet Regiment Color Guard members Rachel Hoskins, Morgan Coleman and Haley Dittrich cheer as the Algona High School marching band is announced the 3A division winner in the Algona Band Day Festival Parade Contest.
Miller said that the nice weather might bring out even more people.
For 60 years the Algona Chamber of Commerce has hosted this annual event.
In a nearly two-hour-long parade stretching all along State Street, 25 marching bands strutted their stuff before a panel of judges. It was a strong competition with trophy winners in the parade contest sometimes determined by only a few tenths of a point.
Vicki Mallory, executive director of the Algona Chamber of Commerce, said that the bands were evaluated in the areas of marching and maneuvering, general execution, and musical performance.
The bands came from as far away as Inwood, Sheldon and Storm Lake to prove their musical prowess.
Sheldon High School senior Jill Kobbe was appearing in her fourth and last Algona Band Days competition.
''I enjoy coming out here and performing,'' she said. ''It gives kids who like music something to do; something to compete in.''
Kobbe, a member of the Sheldon Orab Color Guard, said that Sheldon had won their 2A division in 2007.
''We've been practicing every morning from seven to nine-ish,'' she said.
''Band is first period,'' Kobbe said. "So we can start early.''
The practicing paid off for Kobbe and her fellow Orabs as Sheldon again took home the first place trophy in the 2A high school division.
The marching bands ranged in size from 1A to 4A and in age from middle schools to high schools.
Corwith-Wesley-Luverne's 16-member middle school band looked crisp in their maroon outfits and snow-white hats and shoes. Fort Dodge Senior High's 147-member band riveted the audience as they strode up the street led by a swirl of colorful flags.
As soon as the parade finished, the crowd surged to the area in front of the judges stand where area drumlines put on a show while the judge's ballots were tabulated.
In the middle school competition, first place trophy winners included West Bend Mallard 1A, Emmetsburg 2A, and Charles City 3A.
At the high school level, first place winners included Bishop Garrigan 1A, Sheldon 2A, Algona 3A and Fort Dodge Senior High 4A.
The Algona Chamber of Commerce will start planning the 2009 festival in just a couple of weeks, Mallory said.
Over the years the Algona Band Day Festival has had as many as 36 bands competing.
''It isn't possible to do it without the support of the business community and lots and lots of volunteers,'' Mallory said.
Contact Jo Vetter at 573-2141 or firstname.lastname@example.org