GOWANDA — Organizers of the fourth annual Community Spirit Parade are giving area residents another reason to participate or witness the event with the addition of Downbeat Percussion, the official drumline for the Buffalo Bills, scheduled to make an appearance.
The musicians were confirmed Tuesday night after the village board unanimously approved a $500 donation to bring the drum corps to the parade.
“For those who don’t know, it’s like bringing the New England Patriots to your little league football game,” said Mayor David Smith. He said funding for it came from the village’s Community Account established in the Trust and Agency Fund.
The parade, scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 12, is part of the school’s spirit week and homecoming festivities. The parade’s coordination is led by the Gowanda Boosters Club.
Jennifer Gernatt, president of the club, said bringing a band to the parade is something they have wanted to do since the parade’s inception, but noted it’s difficult to have the school marching band participate because so many members are already a part of the parade in other aspects.
“This really shows how our community has come together,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity for our community. It shows that, when we work together, great things can happen here.”
Downbeat Percussion performs at Buffalo Bills games and throughout the area, according to Jack Gaylord Jr., president of Drums Along the Waterfront and influential in organizing Downbeat Percussion.
“When you are at a parade, most bands just come down the street,” said Gaylord. “This group likes to really interact with the crowd. They are continually stopping, going in through the crowd, playing features as they go down the street.
“They are definitely entertaining and people are generally really amazed with the synchronization of it.”
It’s expected Downbeat Percussion will lead the parade, which is designed to build community spirit by uniting different facets of the school — including students, parents, coaches, staff and the community in general — to assure ongoing improvement in sports, music, arts and academic programs.
It’ll take place the day prior to the Panthers’ homecoming game, scheduled this year against Salamanca on Oct. 13.
The Gowanda High School Student Council this year has selected “Dream Destinations” as this year’s parade theme, and community organizations and businesses are encouraged to fill out an entry form and participate.
“It’s such a broad theme so it’s really exciting,” said Gernatt. She said some groups have already come up with ideas, which range from actual places and locations to a dream destination like going to college or another specific goal.
Prizes are awarded for the best floats, with winners announced during halftime of the school’s Powder Puff Game scheduled for that evening. Lineup for the parade is at 4:30 p.m. in the parking lot behind the stores on West Main Street. It begins at 5:30 p.m and ends after passing Hilis Field on Panther Drive.
Entry forms must be submitted by Oct. 6 to GowandaBoosters@yahoo.com.
Physical entry forms, found on in the Sept. 22 edition of The Gowanda Press, can be dropped off at The Press office, 47 W. Main St., in Gowanda. Forms can be dropped off anytime via the dropbox located at the front door of the office.
(Contact managing editor Rich Place at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter, @placerm)