SHERBURNE – The 64th annual Sherburne Pageant of the Bands kicks-off this afternoon with Jazz Ensemble competitions, beginning at 4 p.m. and leading up to the main event, Saturday’s popular Grand Parade Competition, in which all 28 of the competing schools will march their way through the center of the village.
The pageant is recognized throughout the state as the largest and longest running of its kind. Founded in 1949 by Albert Whitney and Frank L. Miller, the event lures an estimated 5,000 to 10,000 people to Sherburne each year including the participants and their families. Between Colgate Alumni weekend and the pageant, however, it can often be difficult for visitors to find a place to stay for the three-day event. Traditionally there have been Sherburne residents who have allowed people to camp out on their land. And while attendance at the pageant has taken something of a hit in recent years – typically attributed to the downturn in the nation’s economy – the pageant has been making a strong comeback.
“It’s starting to come back little by little,” said lead pageant organizer and S-E band director Jeffrey Manwaring, who has served as coordinator of the Pageant of the Bands for 13 years but first participated in 1975 as a marching band student. A few years later, as a college student, he remembers standing by on the sidelines watching the annual event.
“After college, however, I brought bands from different schools that I had taught at to it,” he stated with no small measure of pride, adding that the number of participating schools is slightly higher than last year’s.