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MASON CITY, IA – With an event of this size, one main concern that coordinators have is security.
With Band Festival, authorities face unique challenges when it comes to protecting all those who are in attendance.
While a number of Mason City Police officers walked the parade route, they still say it can be tough to watch a crowd that’s so widespread.
It’s a challenge officers say they try to overcome each year.
“The big thing is we really try and shut the route down and the reason we shut the route down especially early is for safety reasons. A lot of people are coming to the parade and then sit down. They don’t worry about the traffic. That’s what we worry about,” said Lieutenant Ron Vande Weerd of the Mason City Police Department.
Lieutenant Vande Weerd also notes that staying safe is also the responsibility of those attending band festival.
He adds that officers can’t be everywhere at all times, so he asks everyone to try to be aware of their surroundings.
“I’ve been told there are upwards of twenty thousand people who come down to the parade. It’s a lot of people along the route so there’s a lot of logistics that go with that as far as when people want to leave, the traffic control that goes along with that. There’s a lot of planning that goes into this. It’s not just by me but by the Band Festival people especially,” said Vande Weerd.