Six high schools will be represented by approximately 700 students Saturday, Sept. 21, at the 45th Pickerington Band Festival.

The annual autumn tradition will be held this year at Pickerington High School North, 7800 Refugee Road.

The festival will begin at 6 p.m. and will feature marching bands from both Pickerington North and Pickerington High School Central, as well as high school bands from Berne Union, Canal Winchester, Madison Plains and Millersport.

"The Pickerington Band Festival is one of the longest-running band competitions in the state of Ohio," said Marc Parulekar, music coordinator for the Pickerington Schools district music.

"This is due to the tremendous community support, the hard work of our band boosters and the amazing performances of our student musicians."

Ohio Music Education Association rules limit host bands to exhibition performances only.

Therefore, Central and North won't be competing to win the event.

The other bands, however, will perform for adjudicators, who will scoring their on music, marching and spirit.

Performing at the festival gives each band a chance to qualify for the OMEA state band competition in November.

"The event is very important for the community of Pickerington because it brings our community together," Parulekar said. "The Pickerington Central and North band programs believe that music should be a uniting force in our community.

"Sports rivalries can be fun, but watching students from North and Central combine every year to perform Amazing Grace and other music reminds us that we gain more from working together than we do from competing against each other."

Central band director Nathan Stowe said he looks forward to his bands performing in the festival each year because it's a "home show" for Central and North.

Tickets for the Pickerington Band Festival are $7 for adults and $5 for senior citizens, students and child-ren. They may be purchased at the gate the night of the festival.

"It will be a great night of music, entertainment, and fun," Parulekar said.