After months of rehearsal, planning, and anticipation, the Pride of the Mountains Marching Band finally fulfilled its dreams of marching in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Millions of people lined the streets of New York City and watched on national television witnessing one of the largest bands to ever march in this historic parade. There is no doubt that this special day will stay with these students for the rest of their lives.

Before stepping off in the parade, students took a few moments to soak in everything around them. They shared moments with their friends and family, all while mentally preparing for the three and a half miles that led them to Herald Square.

After patiently waiting for their place in line, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade marshalls waved 535 members of the Pride of the Mountains Marching Band into the streets of New York to join the parade. For the hour it took to walk the parade route, millions of people around the world learned who Western Carolina University was because of the electric performance these students delivered throughout the parade.

Catamounts fans traveled from across the country to be on the sidewalks cheering on the band. Their encouragement and support were just what the members needed to push through and finish the three and a half-mile parade route that ultimately led to their performance in Herald Square.

After it was all said and done the students stepped out of their TV performance and breathed a huge sigh of relief. Their months of preparation had paid off, they had gained national recognition for Western Carolina University and for the Pride of the Mountains Marching Band. There were plenty of smiles to be found as students embraced one another and relived the moment while departing New York City.

Photography produced by Samuel Wallace ’16, Caitlin Penna, Keith Kunstmann ’18, and Rylee Roquemore