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Statewide announcement for Buckhannon’s big 2023 international marching bands event coming soon

BUCKHANNON – The local organization preparing for the World Association of Marching Show Bands Championship in 2023 is meeting every two weeks to hammer out all the details for the international event.

The WAMSB competition will take place in Buckhannon July 17 through July 23, 2023. City recorder Randy Sanders said the Buckhannon Host Committee Inc. is independent from the City of Buckhannon and registered as a 501c3 nonprofit. The committee includes Sanders, Barbara Hinkle, Amby Jenkins, Laura Meadows and Alisa Lively.

“We also brought on Haley Gompers as an administrative assistant, and she’s handling the research side of things, correspondence, telephone calls and tracking information down,” Sanders said. “Of course, we’re still getting a lot of help from Brad Kellison — he is really the force behind this whole thing. He’s just so enthusiastic about it and he does a lot of research and brings in a lot of great ideas.”

Sanders also gave credit to Lee Winter, who has worked to recruit bands through his various contacts.

“Today, we have 38 bands registered,” Sanders said. “That doesn’t mean all 38 will come, that means they’re registered and going through the due diligence and making sure they’re qualified and able to compete if they get everything done from their end — meaning they get their visas all taken care of and their travel arrangements taken care of. Most of these 38 bands are from outside of the United States.”

The committee has also contracted Orion Strategies as their media representatives, who have created their website, Twitter and Facebook account.

“They’ve arranged dialogue and set up meetings with the two U.S. Senator’s offices for us, Manchin and Capito, and they put us together with the West Virginia Department of Tourism — Secretary Chelsea Ruby — and they put together meetings to work with Randall Reid Smith. Because of all of this, we’re working on a big, statewide rollout announcement in, hopefully, early 2022.”

The committee has regular meetings with West Virginia Wesleyan College and recently met with several emergency services to discuss any security concerns.

“We had with us Homeland Security representatives — Carrie Wallace and her team were there — the sheriff’s office, city police and city fire chief J.B. Kimble, and the county fire departments were also represented,” Sanders said.

The committee is looking to add extra bleachers to the stadium at WVWC and possibly utilizing Buckhannon-Upshur High School as well.

“We may talk to the board of education about holding some events there, because they have such a beautiful stadium, we’re keeping options open,” Sanders said. “We’re also very aware that if the bond passes in January, there might be major construction going on up there in 2023, so we’ll have to see.”

Sanders said the committee hopes the project on Madison Street — the former Chase drive-thru lot across from Jawbone Park — will also be complete before the event kicks off.

“That’s still a big priority; we’re working together to get decisions made before the spring construction season,” Sanders said. “We have Bryson VanNostrand making some plans for us to study, and I think we’re pretty close. We’ve actually had a couple of public gatherings from different groups coming in and weighing in. I think it has to go through the other committees first, but we’re proposing a U-shaped parking lot with about 38 to 40 parking spaces, and enhancing that main area with a lot of green space and underground wiring for vendors and so forth. We want to add a pavilion and some different things that will make it a true extension of Jawbone Park.”

A more detailed list of the scheduled events during the competition can be found in a previous My Buckhannon article here.

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