ALGONA - Shawn Vaske, who plays trumpet with the Bishop Garrigan High School Marching band, took a long time to get to the end of State Street Saturday afternoon during the annual Algona Band Days Parade.
He began in fifth-grade - playing. Then in sixth-grade - marching.
That's a lot of steps and at the end of the route, the senior took his last with the band.
-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Members of the Algona Junior High School Marching Band, including trumpet player Joseph Erpelding, march down State Street Saturday afternoon during the Algona Band Day Parade.
"I have mixed feelings," Vaske said, "But a lot of good memories."
He enjoys the yearly event - particularly the competition.
"There's tons of talent here," he said, "You get to show exactly what it is you can do."
He said he managed to catch a glimpse of his family along the route. Although marchers are required to keep looking ahead no matter what.
"It was with my peripheral vision," he said.
For many of the students, family help is important. Often, there is a good band parent supporting each marcher somewhere behind the scenes.
Lori Curran, of Humboldt, is one of those. Her daughter, eighth-grader Kate Curran, is the baton twirler for the Humboldt Junior High School marching band.
What does it take?
"You have to keep them organized, keep the costume in order and get them to practice," Lori Curran said.
After the march, she was beaming.
"She did a great job," she said.
Keith Briggs, of Algona, was watching the parade with his niece, Teagan Garmon, 2, of Clear Lake. He was working hard on getting her to wave at the parade - with some success.
The Algona native was waiting for his alma mater.
"I graduated from Algona, so I root for them," he said.
Even during a stint living out of the area, the event keeps him coming back.
"I always came back for band days," he said.
Mariana Gunderson, of Minneapolis, was watching the parade with her family, including niece Gracey Gunderson, 3, of Stewartville, Minn.
After the younger Gunderson took off after a band, they decided to work on marching skills together.
Mariana Gunderson had no previous experience.
"I was a swimmer in high school," she said.
Of course, it's not too late for Gracey; she seemed to get the hang of it pretty quickly.