It's one of Avon Lake's longest standing traditions started by a local legend: Band-A-Rama. And it's back this Saturday night.
The 2013 Band-A-Rama Sept. 14 at Avon Lake High School's Memorial Stadium will feature seven bands plus the Avon Lake Marching Shoremen. The event starts at 7 p.m.
The Avon Lake Band-A-Rama began in 1965 with legendary Harry Pfingsten was the band director.
"At the first Band-A-Rama, Mr. Pfingsten, who retired in 1991 and is a resident of Avon Lake, remembers that Avon, Brookside, Wellington, Massillon and Cuyahoga Falls bands were in attendance," current band director David Eddleman said. "Mr. Pfingsten always tried to invite a college band or large high school band that hadn’t been seen in the area before."
There have been a few surprises over the years.
One year the University of Michigan Marching Band played in Avon Lake and in another, Avon Lake and Oberlin combined bands for a performance at the Band-A-Rama and then later at a Cleveland Browns half-time that was on national television.
"Mr. Pfingsten said he heard from people all over the country who had seen and liked their combined show," Eddleman said.
On occasion, inclement weather makes for an interesting show, which carries on, rain or shine.
"One year it was so muddy that one of the students slipped in the mud in an all-white uniform," Eddleman said. "Another year, hazardous weather moved the event into the gym where the bands performed concerts for each other and for the audience members brave enough to venture over to the high school."
For the 50th anniversary in 2014, the Avon Lake Band-A Rama Committee hopes to include all of the bands who attended the first Band-A-Rama back in 1965. The committee is also talking with the OSU Marching Band in hopes that they will be here to celebrate the 50th anniversary.
The Band-A-Rama setting gives the bands their own spotlight to showcase their talented students and exciting shows. The admission has remained at $5 for many years to encourage attendance from people from Avon Lake as well as those following the bands, Eddleman said. All proceeds from the event benefit the Avon Lake Bands from fifth through 12th grades.
This year's attendance includes North Ridgeville, Oberlin, Olentangy, Olmsted Falls, Keystone, Clearview, and Notre Dame College will participate in the event that showcases some of the area's top marching bands.
Tickets are $5 and can be purchased at the gate.
What: Avon Lake's 49th Annual Band-A-Rama
When: Saturday, Sept. 14 at 7 p.m.
Where: Avon Lake Memorial Stadium