72nd Annual Harvest of Harmony Parade


"Nebraska Youth, The Shining Stars," was the theme for the 2013 Harvest of Harmony Parade.

The annual parade is the largest parade of bands in the state of Nebraska, and 2013 marked its 72nd year. It brought in 96 bands in 240 busses.

The event was exciting for many of the students, and for some high school juniors and seniors, it was bittersweet. Senior, Jessica Thiele said, "It's sad to leave, but it'll be good to get a new start too."

The parade route takes bands from all around the state marching through downtown Grand Island.

JJ Green, chairman of the parade board, said, "This year our theme is Nebraska youth, shining stars, and we wanted to honor the kids that'll eventually become community leaders around the state."

Aside from the harmony, the parade draws in pageant queens, campaigning politicians, local businesses and other floats. Among those floats was Grand Island Senior High's class of 1963, who chose to face the cold to celebrate their 50th reunion.

Sporting their GISH spirit they sang songs from their senior year. Many said they were a close knit class of students, and 50 years later they keep in touch and reminisce on parade tradition.

One class of '63 alum, Gary Wegner said, "It's a big deal to come down to Third Street; it was a big part of family life back then. Everybody came to town on Saturday. It was always cold just like today, and that's what we remember about those days." They played sixties music on their stereo, and their float theme was "50 Years and Still Shining."