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Mercer Island High School band fundraising to get to New York for Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

The unique Indy 500-style fundraiser will be held at the school this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

MERCER ISLAND, Wash. — The Mercer Island High School band is fundraising to be able to participate in the most iconic parades in the country.

Last year KING 5 shared the news about Mercer Island High School being selected to participate in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York. The school’s nearly 300-member band program is the largest in the state, involving nearly 25% of the student body.  

MIHS Marching Band Director Parker Bixby says the students were excited about the news but the band directors “just about lost their minds.” Bixby says being one of a few schools chosen is validation for the students and staff who overcame an enormous amount of work coming out of the pandemic. 

The exciting news comes with the reality of transporting more than 200 students and marching band instruments more than 2,800 miles away to New York during the busy holiday season.  

“We are lucky to have the amazing Mercer Island Band Boosters that help with scholarships and financial support and we are launching a fun opportunity to support the band this weekend,” says Bixby.  

The Mindy 500 is the school's take on the Indianapolis 500 race and puts a quirky twist on the race format. Big Wheels will race through the halls of the school on Saturday as the school hosts a day of fundraising featuring games, a car show and food trucks.  

“If you’ve ever dreamed of taking your bike through the school or even riding a skateboard down the hall, this is even better!” says Bixby, and students agree.  

Moa Valentin is a drum major for Mercer Island High School and says the students are excited to make the trip to New York and what it might inspire.  

“I’m excited to see how the band as a whole will grow from it and the opportunities that it’s going to lead to in the future,” says Valentin.

All proceeds from the Mindy 500 will go directly to the students as they prepare to make the trip to participate in the largest, most-watched parade in the nation. 

The school is one of only six high school bands to earn a spot in the 2023 parade. The band has also performed at other major events, including the Tournament of Roses, Seattle Seahawks half-time shows and the London New Year's Parade.  

“This is as big an honor as it gets and the kids deserve this,” says Bixby. 

Racers from 5th to 12th grade can participate in the Mindy 500 this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Mercer Island High School. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased online or at the door.

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