The History of Harvest of Harmony
The parade's roots start back in 1938 when Chamber members decided to organize an event to promote goodwill among the area small towns. That first parade, initially named the Central Nebraska Music Festival, was a rousing success with eight bands and 13 floats. An estimated 10,000 people were watching from the streets of Grand Island.
Just as the event was getting started, World War II began. The parade ceased in 1942, 1943, 1944 and 1945, due to gas rationing. Once the war ended, the parade resumed in 1946 with a new name, Harvest of Harmony, and added the ever-popular Miss Harvest of Harmony Pageant.
Over the years, Harvest of Harmony has grown into one of Nebraska's largest events. The culmination of the parade's popularity was evident in 1996 as Harvest of Harmony broke an existing record and claimed a spot in the Guinness Book of Records as "highest number of bands marching in a parade" with 130 bands.
As for those original eight bands that began in 1938… they've been back each and every year.