Florida Classic Weekend marches on with Battle of the Bands

Annual event held Friday night at Amway Center in Orlando

ORLANDO, Fla. – ORLANDO, Fla. -- Florida Classic Weekend kicked off on Friday night with the traditional Battle of the Bands, which brought high school bands together from all across the country.

"242," shouted Yinka Burrows outside Amway Center in downtown Orlando.

Burrows and her family came from the Bahamas to watch her hometown high school band play in the match, which took on new meaning for band members after Hurricane Dorian.

"We’ve done the Macy’s parade, we went to Ireland, we’ve done Washington," she said. "We’ve done Florida before, but this is the first time we’re doing this one, and we look forward to coming back, too."

The Battle of the Bands climaxed with the appearance of the marching bands from the crowning jewels of The Classic -- Florida A&M and Bethune Cookman Universities.

The match-up between the two schools has been an annual tradition dating back almost a century.

The community event that now surrounds it has lasted decades, and the Battle of the Bands is one of its pillars.

"Over the moon. Over the moon," said Wanda Thomas, who traveled to Orlando from West Palm Beach.

She is a FAMU alum, and she said she came to Classic Weekend every year.

This year, though, she said she's watching her son play in the marching band for the first time.

"I’m nervous, I’m excited, I don’t know what to expect," she said. "I wouldn’t even go watch him during practice, but I am ready for him to go out there and show out."

Fan Fest for The Classic begins at 11:30 a.m. at Camping World Stadium in Orlando.

The game begins at 3:30 p.m.

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