When almost 10,000 people descend on Blue Springs this weekend, it will not be for a football game or convention.

When almost 10,000 people descend on Blue Springs this weekend, it will not be for a football game or convention.

It will be to watch high school marching bands in the Blue Springs High School Marching Invitational.

“To be involved in competitive marching takes an incredible amount of dedication, perseverance, team work and commitment,” said Tim Allshouse, the school’s director of bands. “Seeing that come to life through the performers on the field is really uplifting and I believe brings hope to all that watch.”

The 31st annual marching invitational begins at 8:30 a.m. Saturday at Peve Stadium, 2000 N.W. Ashton Drive in Blue Springs. Twenty-six bands from three states will compete in the field show, drumline and color guard categories.

Admission is $10, which includes preliminaries and finals. Parking is free.

“There are many challenges to organizing this festival. We start planning next year’s festival the day after this festival. It is really a year-round planning event,” Allshouse said. “The shows are amazing and varied and, of course, very entertaining, but to me, it is more the underlying message of what these kids had to do to pull that off that is the really story and magic and personal appeal of the day.”

Each band will perform a field show with music, drill formations and routines by the color guard. Bands selected for finals include the grand champion from the 1A to 4A bands, the high score 5A band in preliminaries, the high score 6A band in preliminaries and then the next eight highest scores from the 5A/6A classification. Trophies also are presented in areas such as outstanding drum major, outstanding soloist, outstanding visual performance and outstanding musical performance among others.

The Blue Springs High School Golden Regiment will not compete but will present an exhibition performance following finals.

Allshouse said the Blue Springs festival is known for “great crowd response” and the “level of adjudication.”

“Our adjudicators come from all over the country representing drum corps international, Bands of America and a variety of university and college professors. This is not only important for adjudication, but they also make recorded comment tapes for each band on elements they are doing well and suggestions to try to improve their production,” he said. “I think this is a great event where we are able to showcase the great things teenagers are doing.”