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71 years of 'The Granddaddy of Band Festivals'

Enjoy Saturday's Tri-State Band Festival
Lead Summary
Jason Berghorst

My day job is teaching world history and psychology classes to high school students.
Each year in the second or third week of the school year, I teach about cultural diffusion in world history.
Simply put, cultural diffusion is when one group shares its ideas, technologies and/or ways of life with another group.
We study how this process happened in the earliest civilizations and how it is still happening today.
One needs to only look at the internet, slang language or music to see examples of how ideas spread quickly from one place to another these days.
The use of local or other familiar examples often helps students understand a concept.
For that reason, we also talk about examples of cultural diffusion from Minnesota and even Luverne.
Minnesota examples of cultural diffusion might include duct tape and Post-it Notes, indoor shopping malls and Target, Prince and Bob Dylan music, Tonka Toys and roller blades, Betty Crocker cookbooks and cake mixes, and Arctic Cat and Polaris snowmobiles.
But what about hyper-local examples? What ideas have started in and spread from Luverne?
The example that we often use this time of year is the Tri-State Band Festival.
On Saturday, Luverne will be hosting the band festival for the 71st time.
As far as I know, Tri-State is the oldest high school band festival of its kind in the Upper Midwest, and possibly much farther.
Way back in 1951, local Luverne business leaders had the idea of hosting a parade for area high school bands on a fall Saturday. The goal was to bring people to Luverne and to support local businesses.
Needless to say, the idea was a good one and it worked. And 71 years later, it’s still working.
And as with all good ideas, they are bound to spread (thanks to cultural diffusion!).
After seeing what a great idea a high school band festival was, communities such as Waseca, Vermillion, Sioux Falls, Marshall, Sioux City, Brandon, Orange City, and many Twin Cities suburbs have all begun hosting their own band festivals over the years.
Now nearly every Saturday in September and October, multiple communities in the three-state area host band festivals.
Many of these festivals have adapted Luverne’s ideas and have come up with some new ideas that have also spread.
Some festivals have become much larger than the Tri-State Band Festival, and some even host their festival on the same day as Tri-State, meaning fewer bands are coming to Luverne on the last Saturday in September than in years past.
Yet, Tri-State endures.
Thousands of band members and fans will descend on Luverne Saturday to share and enjoy the hard work of young people who love music.
The Rose Bowl is sometimes called “The Granddaddy of Them All” because it was the first college bowl game and is still continuing today.
I like to think of Tri-State as the “Granddaddy of Band Festivals.”
Make sure to take some time this weekend to enjoy our very own Rose Bowl! 

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