North Iowa Band Festival adapts with a reverse parade

Brett Bachtle
Created: May 21, 2020 07:01 PM

(ABC 6 News) - Each year, the musical heritage of the River City is celebrated during the North Iowa Band Festival, but this year the most iconic part of the celebration looks a little different.

Last month, the event was canceled for the first time since World War II because of COVID-19.
On Thursday, in place of the traditional Saturday morning band fest parade, the Mason City Chamber of Commerce put on a reverse parade.

“Typically, the band festival parade has about 50,000 spectators and there are over 100 floats that go by and they throw candy to the participants along the side. Today, we are throwing candy to the cars and to the people who would normally be part of the parade,” said Festival Coordinator Kativa Weitzel.

Residents of River City made it clear they wanted to continue to take part in the tradition. An endless parade of cars made their way past the commerce center as chamber members wearing masks and gloves handed candy to the cars.

“I think people just want to celebrate and this is just a great time to celebrate the heritage of River City,” said Mason City Mayor Bill Schickel.

The reverse parade is part of band festival spirit week, a way for the chamber is keeping the excitement and music alive.

“That’s a big deal that we kept our tradition year after year despite all of the odds. It is the real River City. Music is in the veins of every person in Mason City person and every person in north Iowa really,” Weitzel said.
The music of the River City will continue to live on thanks to a community that chooses to embrace the heritage at the heart of their city.

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