BrickFest bands get high praise

Pauls Valley's school band director Drew Etheredge, shown leading a past practice, and his student musicians are a featured part of a marching band contest going right through the festivities of BrickFest this Saturday in downtown Pauls Valley. (PV Democrat photo)

All the hard work of musical high school students will again come marching in for all to see during an upcoming festival that brings bands to Pauls Valley from all over the region.

The 12th annual marching band parade is again set to bring the sounds of high school bands right through the middle of a big community festival in Pauls Valley.

It’s called BrickFest, which is set to turn downtown PV into a fun-filled festival of sights and sounds throughout much Saturday, Sept. 25.

Along with the marching bands other staples of the event are also returning, such as a 26th annual car show sponsored by Pauls Valley police, the high-flying Vintage in the Valley BMX show and a competition that sends soft, sponge bricks in just about every direction.

The event has exploded in such a positive way over the last years it gets high praise from one member of the Pauls Valley Tourism Board.

Not that long ago Randy McGee said it was an easy choice to support the band event with tourism funding because of what it represents for the Pauls Valley community.

“You are one of the bright spots in Pauls Valley – you and your band,” McGee said to PV school band director Drew Etheredge when the board and later the local city council voted to support the event with $3,000 in city tourism funds.

“The band needs to be talked about every day. You have taken that program and made it into something that continues to be a champion. You’re putting so many kids into college.

“I want to brag on you every chance I get. This is as good a thing as we fund all year, and it’s bringing so many people to our town.”

Etheredge, grateful for the city’s support again, says despite the virus pandemic there were still a few bands that showed up to take in the 2020 event last fall.

“Even with that happening we still had a good showing,” he said.

“We still had 10 or 11 bands here. Some contests didn’t happen. I’m hoping this year will be bigger and better and we continue to keep pushing it.”

The event includes a field competition at the local football stadium, but Etheredge says he has a reason for the marching band contest going through the downtown area during the BrickFest festival.

“We have the marching band contest because I want to show off the town,” he said, adding the late morning start is “more active” because of all the people showing up for BrickFest.

As for this year’s BrickFest event, it officially gets started around 9 a.m. with the police department’s car show stretching throughout many of the downtown streets.

High flying Vintage in the Valley bike shows are set for 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. shows, while marching bands will start their performances around 11 a.m. The event's Brick Toss has a 2 p.m. start.

Garvin County Health Department officials will also be at Saturday's festival offering free COVID-19 vaccinations from 10 a.m. to noon at the train depot.

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