Macon rallies around upcoming marching festival - city officials and business owners weigh-in


MACON, MO -- With it being less than 72 hours away, the City of Macon is preparing for the first ever City of Maples Marching Festival, which will easily become one of the largest events hosted by the town right out of the gates on its debut this Saturday, September 21st. Well over 80 patrons will be volunteering for the event which is expected to easily have 1,000+ students, participants, and spectators. The marching festival has been made possible in large part, due to the recent turfing of Hugh Dunn Field at the Macon R-1 School District. Jamie Baker, Band Director at the Macon R-1 School District also credits band parents for pushing for a band festival to be held here in Macon. "The community has really come through to help volunteer for this event. We have a list of around 80 people who signed up on our electric volunteer form who will be helping. The form had a bunch of different options but what made it easy for me was that most people just said to put them where they were needed. Everyone has been enthusiastic about this new endeavor for our community and I hope to see it grow each year. One of the things I put on the registration information for band directors was our community strongly supports fine arts... And that statement has shown so true through all the support we've gotten through volunteers and donations," stated Baker. Superintendent of Macon R-1, Scott Jarvis, also stated that the band festival is allowing and providing the opportunity for the students to showcase their talents in their hometown; "It will also provide an opportunity for our community to showcase all of the hospitality Macon has to offer," said Jarvis. Also weighing into the upcoming festival, Carl Knapp, the President of the Macon Band Boosters stated, "The City of Maples Band Festival means a lot to the Macon High School Band Boosters. It will be a major fundraiser that will help us better our program and an opportunity to highlight the excellence of our band. We are super excited." Knapp also credits the best qualities of other enjoyable band festivals that the band travels to throughout the year in helping mold the City of Maples Marching Festival.

Outside of the school district city officials and business owners also weighed in on the band festival, including City Administrator Avis Marshall, Sharon Scott from the Chamber of Commerce, Gloria Ann from the Downtown Association, Erin Koch owner of Koch's General Store, Noah Heaton owner of Ashley's Apple Basket, Kristin and Jim Myers owners of The Smoke House, Greg Gabriel from Sydenstricker's.

AVIS MARSHALL: "The 1st Annual Macon City of Maples Marching Festival is an opportunity to showcase our community, Macon R-1’s beautiful new turf on Hugh Dunn Field, and our amazing Macon Tiger Marching Band! We appreciate how much work has gone into preparing for this event by the students, staff, and volunteers and look forward to hosting this event for many years to come. Let’s all come out and support this event and show off our TIGER PRIDE!"

SHARON SCOTT: "The Macon area Chamber of commerce is delighted and so very excited to see the City of Maples Band Festival here in our community this year! We thank Jamie Baker for creating and planning this awesome event!, and the Macon R-1 Schools for their support and contribution of the festival. Thank you all for bringing the Band Festival to Macon!"

GLORIA ANN: "Macon Mainstreet Downtown Association is delighted to see the premiere of The City Of Maples Band Festival. Having the parade competition in Downtown Macon presents an opportunity to show some of the improvements to the downtown area which will be seen by many visiting schools and their followers. The new sidewalks, crosswalks, street resurfacing, new lamp posts and restorations and remodeling done by merchants presents a positive image for our town and community. We are thankful for this event addition and wish many years of success to it. We also thank Jamie Baker for creating this event and the Macon R1 Schools for their support of the festival. It is great to see the community continue to come together to keep our wonderful town prosperous."

ERIN KOCH: "At Koch's General Store, we’re preparing for the band festival in the same way we do big holiday weekends. We’ll have extra staff, more baked goods, and specials. We’re excited to see the new field get used in such an exciting way, and we’re thrilled with the potential for a great day at our store! We were able to get a quick tour through the new elementary addition before school started, we were so impressed by the new classrooms, and library- and every time I drive by the front of the building and see cars parked where our kids used to play so close to the highway, I’m so proud of Macon- for making the choice to invest in our kids! It’s good to be a Tiger!"

NOAH HEATON: "I was talking to the band leader last week thanking him for his efforts as these types of projects aren’t just great experiences for the kids but also great economic development opportunities for the community as a whole. When one local business owner shops at another, all we’re doing is trading the same dollar for the same dollar. These events bring an influx of outside investment to our community where those dollars have more economic value than just two local business owners trading a haircut for a hot beef sandwich."

KRISTIN AND JIM MYERS: "We are very excited to see our town and Macon High School, hosting this type of an event. Not only does it bring in revenue to all of the businesses, it lets the participating communities enjoy the foods and and atmosphere of our wonderful home town.“

GREG GABRIEL: "Sydenstricker's is always supportive of our local schools and all student activities. This first band festival has been discussed for many years and finally become a reality this year, with the upgraded facilities at Macon R-1. I am excited about the recognition this festival brings for our band program, school district, and our community. I would encourage the Macon community to come out Saturday to see first hand the efforts of many accomplished programs and support the countless hours of practice and preparation by these students."

JENNY GABRIEL: "This is a great opportunity for the Macon Community to come out and see what a band competition looks like and how it works, as well as get to see there hometown Marching Tiger Band perform exhibition in parade, indoor drum-line, indoor color guard and field. There will be over a 1000 students here participating along with many spectators who will travel to watch the competitions all day. This is great for our local business as there will be a lot of extra customer traffic around town that day. Like to invite everyone out to come and watch all venues of competition throughout the day."

In accordance to the festival, The Smoke House will be having their food truck either in Onshore's parking lot or outside of The Smoke House, providing a quick meal to festival goers. "The goal is to make the service as fast as possible, so instead of an hour wait time at our restaurant or other restaurants, we will have our food truck set up for quick hot sandwiches chips and drinks ready to go. In and out fast, so people have time to do what they want," stated Josh Myers (son of Kristin and Jim).

The City of Maples Marching Festival is set to bring in well over 1,000 students, participants, and supporters from over a dozen schools including, Louisiana, Leeton, Monroe City, Paris, Harrisburg, South Callaway, South Shelby, Salisbury, Highland, Pleasant Hope, Centralia, Southern Boone, Marshall, Hannibal, and Oak Grove. Events throughout the day will be Field (held at Hugh Dunn Field), Indoor Drum-line and Auxiliary (Macon High School Gym) and Parade (Downtown Macon). The parade portion will be the first portion of the festival with a start time of 9:00 a.m. Jamie Baker asks that citizens who will be watching the schools march throughout the downtown area, to be cognizant of where they park their cars as the bands will need the full width of the streets to march down. The parade will be held in downtown Macon starting at the corner of Rollins/Daugherty Streets, going south to Rollins/Vine and then turning onto Vine for one block. Parade bands will turn left onto Rubey Street and conclude their parade just past the Maples Theater. The parade begins at 9:00 and features sixteen bands. Bands are scheduled at five minutes intervals to ensure enough space so each band may be adjudicated properly by a panel of three judges who will listen for how bands play their music, how they march down the street, and how well they execute their corner. Director of bands Jamie Baker stated, “It's going to be great to see a parade of this caliber in our downtown area. We've had so many people volunteer to help with traffic flow, parking, making the streets clear on the parade route for the bands---it takes so many people to make this happen that I want to thank everyone for their understanding and willingness to help out”.

The Home Press wishes everyone the best of luck in the upcoming festival and we would like to give a huge shout-out to volunteers, the Macon Band Department, and the Macon R-1 School District for bringing this festival to our town. We will be providing videos and pictures throughout the day on Saturday!

For the full schedule of events, click on the following link:

Headline Picture taken by Home Press Reporter, Ben Nelson