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Zany Ellsworth area band marches into grand marshal honor

EL PASO--The first time people see them perform, some just sit and stare while others pick up on a spirit so contagious they want to join right in.

At least that's the way Dennis Wood, one of the founders of the El Paso Marching Band, described public reaction to this memorable area parade fixture last week. Zany, wacky, crazy and wild would be other appropriate descriptive words for an outfit that's nothing if not spontaneous.

Any recognition the group's received over the past 26 years of their existence tended to be tongue-in-cheek. For example, at a gathering in their namesake town Wednesday, co-founder Dave Hansen wore a t-shirt from 1991 with the band's name emblazoned across the front and the tag line, "World Tour."

"I saw others claiming to have gone on world tours and figured if they can do it, we can, too," Hansen said about the idea for his attire, which also shows an outline of the State of Wisconsin and a half-dozen or so towns therein highlighted.

The drum-carrying, kazoo-blowing set of musicians have received their share of parade awards, though they suspect many, like the Governor's Cup, may have been given in jest. However, organizers of this year's El Paso Days, the 25th anniversary edition to be held Aug. 19-21, are serious in proclaiming the band their parade's grand marshals.

Read more in the print version of the Herald Aug. 3.

Bill Kirk

Bill Kirk was editor of the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth, from 1988 to February, 2015 and is now on staff as a reporter. He holds a bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He previously worked in the media distribution department at the University of Minnesota's Minneapolis campus and is past editor of The Tri-County News in Osseo, Wisconsin.

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