Two Iowa cities are hosting marching band festivals this weekend, but the largest event is today (Saturday) in Clarinda. The 51st annual Southwest Iowa Band Jamboree is one of Page County’s biggest events of the year, according to Pat Davison at the Clarinda Chamber of Commerce.
Davison says the parade will start things off at 9 AM and it’ll be the largest-ever event in Clarinda with 60 bands from Iowa, Missouri and Nebraska. It’s middle and high school bands with about 35-hundred to four-thousand students taking part. She says the bands, all decked out in matching uniforms with shiny instruments, are competing of a variety of levels.
Davison says in the parade competition, each band will march into the town square where a panel of four judges will rank them based on execution of the marching and their playing of music. Clarinda is the hometown of the late “big band” leader Glenn Miller and hosts a festival in his honor every year too. Davison says this high school marching band event may be even bigger than the Glenn Miller Fest, as this Band Jamboree is all on one day.
The four-thousand students number doesn’t count the band directors, helpers, parents, siblings, grandparents and more, so Davison says the town’s population grows significantly just for this weekend. Events in Clarinda are expected to last all day and into the evening. Also this weekend, Algona is hosting its 58th annual Band Festival, featuring up to 30 bands from that region of the state.