March to Mason City for the big parade

The clarinets of the Mason City High School Band. Not pictured: 76 trombones. Photo: Mason City Chamber of Commerce

It looks like the clouds will obey the “Funny Girl” and won’t rain on the parade. The forecast is just about perfect for the 84th annual North Iowa Band Festival Parade, set to start at 10 a.m. Saturday in downtown Mason City. The largest free marching band competition in the Midwest is the main event, but it’s just part of the festival that annually attracts 60,000 visitors to the hometown of Meredith Willson and his sister, Dixie Willson, for a weekend of concerts, a carnival, an “instrument petting zoo” and more.

Most events will take place in the heart of downtown’s Cultural and Entertainment District, which includes a new performance pavilion that was unveiled in 2021 as part of the River City Renaissance Project. Progress marches on.

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