Pickerington's two high school marching bands will be among those vying for a spot in a statewide competition at the 39th annual Pickerington Marching Band Festival this weekend.
Pickerington High School North, 7800 Refugee Road, will host this year's event Saturday, Oct. 5, at Panther Stadium.
Admission is $6 for adults, $4 for children.
Gates will open at 5 p.m., and the first of eight high school marching bands will perform at 6 p.m.
Pickerington High School Central's Marching Tigers are expected to perform around 7:30 p.m., and North's band will take the field at 8:15 p.m.
Other bands slated to perform include those from Grove City, Hamilton (Cincinnati), Hilliard Darby, Licking Heights, Newark and River Valley.
The bands will strive to impress a panel of Ohio Music Education Association judges. Those which earn "superior" ratings will be invited to participate in a state high school band contest to be held in November.
"When you're a host band or bands, you actually aren't in competition against the other bands at the event," said Marc Parulekar, PHS North band director. "You still can qualify for the state competition, but we're not compared to the other bands."
Parulekar said spectators can expect to see high-quality bands perform a variety of music while also carrying out highly detailed choreographed movements.
The bands also will compete for awards for Outstanding Marching, Outstanding Music, Outstanding General Effects, First Place Percussion, First Place Auxiliary and the Esprit de Corps Award.
The latter award honors a band that exhibits the spirit of Mike Martin, a 1976 graduate of Pickerington High School and first-chair bass drummer in the school's marching band.
Martin was known throughout his high school days for having a deep love for music. After high school, he spent hours helping local high school drummers hone their skills and find joy through music.
At 25, Martin, his wife and a stepchild were killed en route to Disney World when their vehicle was struck by a drunken driver at the Ohio-Kentucky border.
Since then, he has been remembered through the Esprit de Corps Award, which was established by his father, the late Chuck Martin, a former Pickerington school board member and owner of Ohio Select Printed Fabrics. The company still is operated by the Martin family in Reynoldsburg.
In addition to awards, the festival once again will feature a joint performance by both Pickerington high school bands.
"It's a great showcase of both Pickerington bands, plus other area bands," Parulekar said. "We always enjoy the combined performance between the Pickerington North and Central bands.
"The (Pickerington) bands perform Amazing Grace, which has been a musical warm-up the schools have used forever. It's always a great moment to see the kids share that musical experience."