By Clint Riese—
It has played for royalty, and next week it will play for parade-goers in Forest Lake.
The Stabekk School Band from Oslo, Norway, will give Forest Lake’s 89th annual Independence Day celebration a touch of the region’s Scandinavian heritage.
The marching group boasts impressive accolades. Founded in 1915, the band was adopted in 1954 by His Majesty the King’s Guard, a battalion of the Norwegian Army which serves as the king’s bodyguards. The battalion features a renowned band and drill company that participates in international military drum performances known as tattoos.
The Stabekk School Band uniform is modeled after that of His Majesty the King’s Guard, and the groups maintain a close affiliation, performing together at special military events.
The school band, comprised of children 8-18 split into three age groups, strives to be Norway’s best marching band and competes in national competitions, said Chairman Hilde Skjauff.
The Stabekk School Band toured Minnesota and Wisconsin in 2008. Its return this year revolves around Sunday’s 29th annual Vikingland Band Festival in Alexandria. The Norwegians will serve as the honor band in the festival parade and give a joint performance with Alexandria’s Jefferson High School Marching Band.
The group will bus to Forest Lake July 4 and march near the front of the parade. American Legion Post 225 Commander Krista Goodyear said the children requested that placement so they could watch the parade’s conclusion once they finish the route. The band hoped to join a Fourth of July parade and in January came across information on Forest Lake’s online, Goodyear said.
Their addition is especially welcome given that the Forest Lake City Band will not march in this year’s parade, Goodyear said.
Though funding is down, the Legion-sponsored celebration will feature all the fun of past years, Goodyear said.
It kicks off Wednesday, July 3, with the Magel Midway’s carnival opening at 3 p.m. The bingo tent will operate from 6 p.m. to midnight. Drunk N Stupid will make a return performance at the Legion starting at 8 p.m. T.J. the DJ will spin music outside the Legion at the same time.
The parade begins at 10 a.m. Thursday. Convertibles to carry dignitaries are still needed. Interested owners should call the Legion at 651-464-2600. Active-duty military personnel interested in marching in the parade should meet at 9 a.m. at the Legion. Terry Larson, a member of the local Legion and VFW posts, will serve as grand marshal. Legion Ladies Auxiliary members Pearl Hummel and Dorothy Nelson will be the honorary grand marshals. Winning floats will be awarded back at the Legion after the parade. New this year, two $250 cash prizes are at stake in addition to the usual awards.
The carnival runs from noon to 10 p.m. and the bingo tent from noon to 8 p.m. Kool Bear Entertainment will perform at 8 p.m. in the Legion, and the DJ will again be on the patio. A fireworks show will start at 10 p.m. at Lakeside Memorial Park.
The festivities continue Friday with the carnival open from noon to midnight and bingo offered from 6 p.m. to midnight. The DJ starts at 8 p.m. Saturday’s schedule follows that of Friday.
The celebration ends Sunday. The carnival runs from noon to 5 p.m. and bingo from 2-8 p.m. Free root beer floats will be served outside the Legion from 2-3 p.m.
Three final fundraisers for the festival are also on tap this weekend. The Salute to the Troops event featuring KQRS radio personality Brian Zepp and the Miller Girls starts at 5 p.m. Friday at the Legion. A Gold Star Family Weekend steak fry hosted by the Forest Lake Sons of the American Legion will run at the same time and place.
Friar Tuck’s Pub, 1500 S. Lake St., hosts its seventh annual dumpster hot tub party starting at 7 p.m. Saturday. The event features a DJ and bikini contest.