Litchfield will recognize its 150th anniversary this year with a celebration hosted by the newly formed Litchfield Visitors Bureau.
The inaugural Parade of Bands, a contest that will invite 10 bands from across the state to Litchfield, is scheduled for June 18. The parade will feature three performances by each band with the final performance being judged. Bands will receive a $500 stipend, and the winner will receive a cash prize.
The parade route will start on East 10th Street by the high school, moving west. The bands will turn south on North Armstrong Avenue and make their first performance. From North Armstrong Avenue, the bands will turn east on Fifth Street for their second performance and then north on North Gilman Avenue for the third and final judging performance.
Judy Hulterstrum, director of the Litchfield Chamber of Commerce, said the Litchfield High School marching band has been an outstanding representation of Litchfield throughout Minnesota. The formation and budget of the visitor’s bureau were passed by Litchfield City Council in 2018 and will be funded partially by the city’s lodging tax.
The competition is expected to draw about 1,500 marching band members from around the state. Hulterstrum said she expects around 5,000 visitors will come to Litchfield for the event. While preparing, about 20 bands showed interest in participating, but the decision was made to start small and invite only 10 bands.
“This being our first time to host a competition is nerve-wracking,” Hulterstrum said.
Cathy Haugo, Parade of Bands committee member, said the visitor’s bureau wants to roll out the welcome mat to the visiting bands.
“Each band will have a host to help them during the contest, no matter what they may need,” Haugo said.
Hulterstrum said the hosts are part of a welcome wagon for each band.
“We have a hospitality committee,” she said. “There will be two volunteers for each band. We will be there to help the bands perform the best that they can.”
Haugo said any money made at the Parade of Bands will go toward LHS marching band and for continuing the event.
“We will sell concessions at the event as well,” she said. “Our sole purpose is to benefit the band.”
The committee believes it will take roughly $10,000 to $12,500 to fund this year’s festival. Currently, the committee is collecting donations for this year’s festival but hopes to fund the festival entirely with donations and continue the tradition of the Parade of Bands for years to come. The logo for the festival was even created by Remington Zeppelin, a former LHS band member.
The Parade of Bands will feature a commemorative program with donors that contributed to the event and show each band that performed. Hulterstrum expects the event to bring new people to Litchfield.
“It’s going to be a wonderfully fun event,” Hulterstrum said.
For more information on the Parade of Bands, becoming a sponsor or donating, contact the Litchfield Visitors Bureau at 320-693-8184.