North Iowa Band Festival kicks off Thursday in Mason City

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(ABC 6 News) – The 84th annual North Iowa Band Festival kicks off Thursday in downtown Mason City.

The event is scheduled to run through Memorial Day, Monday.

“I always get a little nervous around this time. I just want everything to go smoothly. I know it will. I just care a lot about this festival,” said Festival coordinator, Noah Harris.

Entertainment will begin on Thursday at 6:00 p.m. at the Principal Pavilion on the Downtown Plaza with the John Adams Middle School Band, followed by a performance by the Mason City Municipal Band at 6:45 p.m.

Live music and entertainment will continue through the weekend including from the Mason City High School Orchestra, the Mason City High School Jazz Band, the state champion Mason City High School Danzers, and the dueling piano tribute to Elton John and Billy Joel.

On Saturday, May 27, the BIG parade will start at 10:00 a.m. It’ll run down East State St. from North Penn to the High School. The Bill Riley Talent Show will also take place on the Main Stage at 2:30 p.m. with the winner competing at the state show at the Iowa State Fair in August. Morgan Myles, who placed third on Season 22 of “The Voice”, will take the main stage at 7:00 p.m.

The carnival and concessions will open on Thursday evening from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. It will again open at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Sunday and 12:00 to close on Monday. Sunday and Monday will be “Wrist Band Days”.

The Marketplace will be open Friday at 4:00 p.m., 12:00 p.m. on Saturday, and 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday.

Ruth Miller, the former Festival organizer, is back with a new role — Festival Grand Marshal, “It’s humbling. It’s rewarding. I feel like the community appreciated all the work I did over the years. It’s like it’s got a life and energy of it’s own that overtakes you. And it overtakes the community. You can see how excited they are and that’s so rewarding.”

For some, the event is all about the music, for others, it’s the commemorative button — an extra benefit for collectors.

“What’s new is that we’re offering discounts for people who are wearing our buttons to a variety of downtown restaurants and shops,” said Colleen Frein, President and CEO, Mason City Chamber of Commerce.

According to the City of Mason City, tourism-related expenditures from the festival contributed an estimated $136.18 million into Mason City’s economy in 2018. In Cerro Gordo County, tourism generated an estimated $214.46 million in visitor spending, a record for the county and the 11th highest County level in the State. Tourism related jobs employed nearly 1,570 people in Cerro Gordo County.

Festival buttons are $5 and can be purchased at the Mason City Chamber of Commerce or the Mason City Visitor Center.

For more information on the North Iowa Band Festival, CLICK HERE.