MINDEN — After a one-year hiatus caused by the novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19, pandemic, Minden Bandfest will come marching back Saturday with a record number of entries in both the parade and field show competition.
Forty-two bands will participate in the 1 p.m. adjudicated parade on Minden streets, and 12 of them then will perform in the field competition starting at 3 p.m. at Minden High School’s Kuper Field.
Those are the largest-ever number of entries in both events, said Todd Jensen, who has coordinated the event for the Minden Chamber of Commerce since its inception in 1990.
Participating bands this year will be traveling from points as far distant as Grant, 166 miles to the northwest; Benkelman, 149 miles southwest; Chambers, 144 miles northeast; and Crete, 109 miles east.
Minden Bandfest, always the third Saturday in October, marks the end of many schools’ parade marching season. The parade is for bands only, and the entries are spaced carefully so that each squad’s performance is optimized for the judges and spectators.
Meanwhile, the field competition provides the last chance for bands to perform in front of judges prior to the state contest sponsored by the Nebraska State Bandmasters Association the following Saturday.
The parade follows a route east on First Street past Bethany Home, then north on Brown Avenue (Nebraska Highway 10) to Fifth Street, then back west toward Minden High School. The announcer’s stand and judges are located in the vicinity of Fourth Street and Brown Avenue.
Admission to the parade is free, and spectators park in the surrounding neighborhoods and line the route as they wish. Highway 10 traffic is rerouted for the duration of the event.
The field competition follows at Kuper Field, located at First Street and Sears Avenue west of Minden High and C.L. Jones Middle School. Admission is charged. Parade awards will be presented there.
This will be the first Minden Bandfest since the death of Phil Fahrlander at age 85 in January 2020.
Fahrlander, an award-winning band director at Minden High from 1968-97, conceived the idea for Bandfest and helped Jensen and other volunteers organize the first event on behalf of the chamber in 1990. He was inducted into the Nebraska Music Education Association’s Music Educators Hall of Fame in 2018.
The following bands were signed up as of Tuesday morning to participate in Saturday’s Bandfest events:
- Junior high: Arapahoe, Blue Hill, Palmer, Central City, Minden
- Class D: Wilcox-Hildreth, Overton, Stapleton, Dundy County Stratton, Chambers, Cambridge, Pleasanton, Litchfield, Medicine Valley, Eustis-Farnam, Kenesaw, Twin River, Axtell, Arapahoe, Sumner-Eddyville-Miller
- Class C: Gibbon, Amherst, Perkins County, Elm Creek, St. Cecilia, Centura, Loup City, Alma, Superior, Hershey, Wood River, Sandy Creek, Sutton
- Class B: Broken Bow, St. Paul, Kearney Catholic, Adams Central, Cozad, Minden
- Class A: McCook, York, Crete
All classes: Cambridge, Perkins County, St. Cecilia, Loup City, Superior, Hershey, Kearney Catholic, Adams Central, Cozad, Minden, McCook, York