The Lafayette Jefferson High School Marching Bronchos are going to Hollywood.
More than 100 band members and a handful of chaperons will leave today for Las Vegas, where they'll spend time before participating in Sunday's 80th annual Hollywood Christmas Parade in California.
The band hasn't participated in the Hollywood parade since winter 2001, band director Tom Barker said.
"That was right after 9/11, so that was a very interesting time to fly for us," Barker said. "It was an absolutely fantastic parade. They treated the kids so nicely. The first part has a red carpet with big stage lights on the kids."
The Marching Bronchos are one of 15 high school bands to participate in the parade, 12 of which are from California. The Bronchos take pride in being the band that will have traveled the longest distance to perform.
Senior Payton Drake, who plays the flute, has never been to California before. Despite that, it's Las Vegas that has her most excited.
"I've seen it on TV but never seen it in person," she said of the city.
The parade begins at 6 p.m. Sunday Pacific Standard Time -- 9 p.m. here -- and will be broadcast live within the Los Angeles area. The parade will be taped to air Dec. 12 on the Hallmark Channel with repeats scheduled throughout December. Hosts of the televised broadcast will be Erik Estrada, from the television series "CHiPS," and TV travel expert Laura McKenzie.
This year's Grand Marshal is singer and actress Marie Osmond, a celebrity Barker laments that many of his students are too young to know.
Band students have been prepping for the parade route that stretches east along Hollywood Boulevard, south on Vine Street and finally west on Sunset Boulevard.
"It's three miles long," said senior Cameron Gamble, a percussionist. "It's going to be rough."
The trip won't be all business, however. Band members will attend Cirque du Soleil and the Hoover Dam on Saturday.
"We'll bus over to Los Angeles, and we're actually going to stop at an old mining town, a ghost town, and the kids will get a chance to go panning for gold," Barker said. "Sunday is the day of the parade, and we'll start by doing a tour of Los Angeles and a tour of Hollywood. A lot of kids have never seen the ocean before, so they'll get a kick out of that."
The group will visit Disneyland Monday before returning to Indiana the following day.
Trips like this, Barker said, give the students a chance to experience things they can't at home in Indiana.
"It's kind of a nice culmination of the fall for all the marching they did," he said. "It's a way to put a cap in this whole marching experience for the kids."