As snow continues to fall across the state, the Williston Convention and Visitors Bureau is already looking towards spring as they plan to kick off the warm weather with one of Williston's premier events: Band Day.
The Convention and Visitors Bureau, along with the Band Day Committee, has announced the dates and guest bands for this year's event, held annually on Mother's Day weekend in Williston. This year, it’s Saturday, May 11, and will feature some high-profile entertainment. The CVB has brought many notable acts to Band Day, including drumlines for both the Denver Broncos and the Minnesota Vikings. This year, the organization is bringing in a group with a unique tie to the area, the Philadelphia Eagles drumline. North Dakota native Carson Wentz is the team's quarterback, which is one of the reasons the CVB reached out to the group. Ashley Oyloe, events and convention services coordinator for the CVB (and a die-hard Eagles fan herself), said she was excited for the opportunity to bring the drumline to Band Day and show Williston off.
"One of my favorite parts of Band Day is the NFL drumlines," she said. "I think it's really cool to put North Dakota on the map and show other people what we have to offer. Bringing other bands to this place is a really good way to do that."
Oyloe said the drumline was very receptive to being involved with Band Day, and contacted her within an hour to discuss the event. She said not only would the group be performing during the parade, but that they requested to hold clinics with area youth, teaching them some of the drumline's signature moves. The group will hold performances in Harmon Park after the parade, with the clinics held at one of the area schools.
Band Day will also feature a group out of Minnesota that Oyloe actually discovered on an episode of Shark Tank. The McNasty Brass Band is a group of horn players and percussionists from the Twin Cities with a style that they say "fuses the Minneapolis sound with the spirit of New Orleans." After looking into the band and discovering they hail from Minnesota, Oyloe reached out to the group, and the band showed so much interest that Band Day has been added as an official stop on their upcoming tour.
"They're pretty well known," Oyloe said. "They've just released another album, and they're just a group of really chill guys. They're the kind of guys you could just hang out with. They're really cool dudes."
Oyloe said she's looking forward to bringing these acts to Williston, not only to share their talents with Band Day's visitors, but also to take them around the area and give them some insight into Western North Dakota.
"One of my favorite things to do when I bring people here is to show off North Dakota," she said. "With all the media coverage about Williston, North Dakota, I want to show them how cool we really are. We have the Badlands, we have Rugby, the geographic center of America, we have all this history in the area to share. I'm really excited to show them what North Dakota is all about. Not only do they get to see a midwest tradition in Band Day, but they get to see what the whole area has to offer."
For more information about Band Day 2019, including vendor and float registrations, contact the Williston Convention and Visitors Bureau at 701-774-9041 or visit www.visitwilliston.com.