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City of Buckhannon Wins Bid to Host World Association of Marching Show Bands Championship Event in 2023

January 1, 2021

BUCKHANNON, WV – The joyous salute, “Happy New Year!”, has a special meaning for the City of Buckhannon this year. Robert Eklund, International President & CEO of the World Association of Marching Show Bands (WAMSB), announced today that Buckhannon, West Virginia has been selected to host the 2023 World Association of Marching Show Bands World Championship Event. This will be only the second time in the World Association of Marching Show Bands’ history that the United States has been chosen to host the prestigious event.

After months of effort developing the proposal, the City of Buckhannon, in partnership with its cohost West Virginia Wesleyan College, submitted the bid to the World Association of Marching Show Bands Board of Directors in July. On December 13th, Buckhannon City Recorder and Planning Committee Chair,  Randy Sanders gave Buckhannon’s final 10-minute pitch to the WAMSB selection committee during an international Zoom meeting.

For band lovers, Buckhannon will be the place to be July 19-26, 2023. At least 30 bands, all high scorers in WAMSB qualifying competitions, will travel to Buckhannon to compete for the title of World Association of Marching Show Bands Champion. The bands will compete in Jazz, Concert, Street Parade, Field Parade, and Field competitions.

Thousands of people from the United States and around the world are expected to visit Buckhannon during the World Championship Week. Aside from the band competitions, the week will feature elaborate Opening and Closing ceremonies, the March to the Flame Parade (down the famous Strawberry Lane) on Wednesday evening, and Saturday’s Grand Feature Parade of Nations. 

Sanders, enthused, “Our Committee is ready to begin tomorrow. It will take two-and-a-half years of hard work and planning, hundreds of volunteers, and recruiting dozens more for the required committees. We have full confidence in the people of Buckhannon and Upshur County and look forward to hosting a successful event.”

Brad Kellison and Lee Winter are two of those volunteers who have also been involved with the West Virginia Strawberry Festival for years.  They offered significant and detailed insight into state and national band competitions and into the complexity of working with bands from all over the world. 

West Virginia Wesleyan College played an integral role in the bid and will provide unparalleled support to the July 2023 week-long event. John Waltz, Vice President for Enrollment Management, and Alisa Lively, Director of Campus Life, were instrumental in crafting the bid and providing key resources across the campus, such as housing and dining options for the competition’s participants.

“We are honored to host the WAMSB World Championship and to welcome musicians from across the globe,” Waltz said. “Wesleyan’s excellence in music and the arts, geographically diverse student body, flexible facilities, and record of safety and security make us an ideal campus host for these talented students and musicians in 2023.”

Laura Meadows, Executive Director of the Upshur County Conventions & Visitors Bureau stated, “Bringing the World Association of Marching Show Bands to Buckhanon in 2023 is a tremendous honor. We’re thrilled to share our love for Buckhannon to the world and are eager to welcome new visitors!”

The public is urged to mark their calendars for July 19-26, 2023, and the World Association of Marching Show Bands – World Championship in Buckhannon, West Virginia. 

For additional information, visit the World Association of Marching Show Bands website here:

Link to Official Announcement recorded by Channel 3 Buckhannon:

Media Contacts:

City of Buckhannon: Callie Cronin Sams, (304) 613-6610 or (304) 472-1651

Upshur County Convention & Visitors Bureau: Laura Meadows, (304) 473-1400, 

West Virginia Wesleyan College: Talley Sergent, (304) 473-8557,