The 11th Annual Husky Vanguard Invitational Festival of Bands was held Saturday afternoon at Ashe County High School and featured 21 high school marching bands from North Carolina and Virginia. Fans and supportive parents packed the home stands of Husky Stadium to cheer on bands from schools across the region including Forbush, Lebanon, Avery, Alleghany, Ft. Chiswell, Patrick County, South and North Iredell as well as a few Wilkes County schools. Throughout the day bands in classifications from 1A to 5A were graded by six judges in the areas of marching, music, percussion, drum majors, and visual ensemble. The smell of hot dogs and pop corn filled the air Saturday evening along with the sound of personalized 'air grams' that were dedicated by parents or close friends to various marching band members. ACHS Band Director Scot Turnmyre said that each school's classification is determined by its number of wind instrument players. Recognition was also given to bands for overall band ratings, class placement, as well as a Band of The Day award. The first half of the competition feature bands from the 1A and 2A classifications. Following a brief award ceremony and intermissioon, bands from 3A-5A classification took the field to round out Saturday's competition. Turnmyre said that the event is held annually to provide another marching band competition venue for area schools and to raise funds for the ACHS Husky Vanguard Marching band. Competition season for high school marching bands typically occurs between the end of September and the beginning of November. Turnmyre was also pleased with the overall turnout of the event. "This has been the largest festival we have had," Turnmyre said. "We actually had 23 bands register but I think the flu may have lowered our numbers a little bit." The Husky Vanguard Marching Band performed in exhibition Saturday afternoon but was not eligible to receive awards because they were the host school. Husky drum majors and other band leaders helped distribute the awards to the deserving bands during a special ceremony. Saturday's performance will likely serve as a warm-up for the ACHS marching band which has competitions slated for mid-October. Following Saturday's exhibition, the ACHS will take to the road on Oct. 17 for competitions in Mt. Airy and Patrick County, VA.