There’s no doubt Gary and Sharon Lindgren are passionate about Mason City.
And for decades, they’ve shared their love for the community by volunteering.
“It is a great place to live, a great place to raise your kids,” Gary said. “We’re fortunate in Mason City.”
The Lindgrens — and their dedication — are being recognized at the 81st annual North Iowa Band Festival, which takes place over Memorial Day weekend in downtown Mason City with the theme “Forward, March.”
The couple has been named the grand marshals for this year’s festival.
The award, given annually by the North Iowa Band Festival Committee, recognizes people of local or national prominence who’ve made a significant contribution to the development, history or success of the festival.
“It was a total surprise,” Sharon said. “We are honored but very surprised.”
The Lindgrens will be in the parade at 10 a.m. Saturday.
The couple has been involved in the band festival since the 1980s, when their children, Brian and Julie, were in the Mason City High School Band, and they worked in the local business community downtown.
Sharon has been a festival royalty judge and chaperone and has handled details related to concessions, while Gary has volunteered in a variety of capacities with the festival from directing the floats and marching bands at the beginning of the parade to lining up convertibles for the honorees.
Gary, a longtime member of the River City Kiwanis Club, has also served food at the club’s concession booth during the band festival for years.
“We just love the community so much,” Sharon said. “It’s nice to be in the community.”
The Lindgrens, who’ve been married for more than 50 years, arrived in Mason City in the 1970s to work at Damon’s department store, where Gary was the manager and president of the corporation.
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After Damon’s closed in 1990, Gary became an account executive for Piper Jaffray and later a business development director for RSM McGladrey. From 2000-2008, he was a senior national account manager for the government division at TeamQuest Corp. He served as market president of Community National Bank from 2008-2013.
Sharon owned and operated Home Gallery and Gifts, a home décor business in Mason City, from 1989-2001. She worked at the Mason City Chamber as membership services director from 2004-2010. She was a founder of the Downtown Association, now known as Mason Street Mason City.
From 2013-2015, the Lindgrens were contracted membership directors for the Mason City Chamber.
Collectively, they’ve been involved in various community organizations, boards and committees as well as Trinity Lutheran Church.
“There’s always so much to do,” Sharon said. “Gary and I have to check our calendar all the time ... As long as we can keep doing it, we’re going to do it.”
The Lindgrens are grateful for the individuals, businesses and organizations that make the North Iowa Band Festival successful year after year.
They believe this year’s band festival theme, “Forward, March,” is fitting for Mason City and its next decade, especially with the vision for the city’s downtown said.
“Mason City is fortunate to have all that and so is North Iowa,” Gary said.