MUSCATINE — While droves of people filled the streets Friday night, a semi-circle of brass musicians formed on Second Street. While they performed holiday classics outside, people were directed inside to the Nut House to purchase selections of nuts and chocolate offered for this year's band fundraiser.
Jonathon Hughes is a freshman french horn player. This was his first year participating in the high school's fundraiser. He said he was excited to be a part of it.
"We try to raise a lot of money through this," Hughes said. "Sometimes it's for a trip, but not this year. We're using this money to buy more equipment and fix instruments. Stuff like that."
Another french horn player, Naomi Booth said the fundraiser is huge and is exciting.
"Most people do know about the Nut House," Booth said. "But that's only because the band moms and dads get the word out."
She said that at times, she and classmates resort to guerilla marketing tactics to get out the word.
"Sometimes us kids also try to go around town and say, 'Hey, you guys wanna buy some nuts?'" Booth said. "They're so good. And they are very nice presents for Christmas."
While students worked to move product, the self-titled "Head Nut" Jim Stogdill was feeling a little low about this year's turnout.
"We are looking a little short this year," Stogdill said. "But we are picking up speed as we go. Things always start off slow, and this year is no different."
He expects things to turn around as the holiday season approaches.
"As we get toward Christmas time we start building up speed and have a lot more sales," Stogdill said.
In alternating years, the band goes on a trip to places like New Orleans and Los Angeles. No such trip is planned this year.
"We usually have a trip that we are fundraising for, but because this is not a trip year, we don't have as many that want to fund raise," Stogdill said. "But it will pick up speed. I'm sure of it."
The goal is to raise between $80,000 and $90,000. That's a lot nuts. But this fundraiser is a Muscatine legacy and Stogdill said he wants to keep it up.
"We've been around for 30-plus years so the nuts already speak for themselves," Stogdill said. "We've been selling them in the Muscatine area for a long time."
In the end, Stogdill said that it is the community of Muscatine that will make the ambitious goal happen.
"We want to make sure that everyone knows that we are available for the kids. This is all about them," Stogdill said. "We are raising funds so they can work on their instruments and they can have funds for the school."