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25th annual marching band festival Thursday in Benson, Minn.

BENSON -- The 25th annual Pioneerland Band Festival begins at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in Benson. A total of 11 high school marching bands will participate in the parade.

The bands will march through Benson, beginning at Highway 12 to 14th Street North and ending at the high school.

The competitive event will feature performances by Class A, AA and AAA high school marching bands from Benson, Bemidji, St. Cloud All-City, Hutchinson, St. Anthony Village, Maple Lake, KMS, Litchfield, Montevideo & Yellow Medicine East, Mankato and Fergus Falls.

Shelly (King) Mikkelson is this year's Grand Marshal. Mikkelson has been an integral part of numerous community music projects, events, and programs in the Benson area for more than 20 years.

Judging of the bands will take place by Tri-State Judging, which will examine music, marching and general effects of the participating bands. Judging will take place in front of the armory.

The bands will compete for cash prizes and plaques.

The grand champion band receives $750.

Special awards will also be presented to the outstanding color guard, outstanding percussion unit and people's choice.

The awards ceremony will immediately follow the parade around 9:20 p.m., at the Benson High School football field.

Results, information on upcoming competitions, as well as scores from previous events are available at

For additional information, contact Lacey Fahl, from the Benson Chamber of Commerce, at 320-843-3618 or bensonchamber@