SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — Members of the South Dakota State University march band returned home Friday exhausted, yet exhilarated, from their appearance at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Their time in New York City was a whirlwind of music and site-seeing for the Pride of the Dakotas.

The SDSU band members marched off their plane and into the arms of waiting family members at the Sioux Falls Regional Airport, proud of their musical accomplishment in New York City.

“It hit me, I was like, this is it. I’ve peaked now. I’m in the Macy’s Day Parade, what else can I do with my life,” band member Molly Crawford said.

It was the first-ever appearance at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for the Pride of the Dakotas. Band members say their performance struck all the right notes in front of their biggest audience.

“The entire 3 miles that we walked, it was packed from street-to-street. So, it was kind of insane to just look around and like, there’s so many people,” band member Maddy Brooks said.

Spending nearly a week in the Big Apple came as somewhat of a culture shock to the band members. You might say they felt a little like a fish out of water, especially when it came to checking out some of New York’s wildlife.

“We went on the subway a lot. That was really fun getting to experience it. We saw a rat at the very end, which was interesting because we thought we’d see a lot more,” Brooks said.

Many band members will spend the remainder of their holiday weekend catching up on sleep.

“It’s like one of those things, that, now that it’s over, you’re kind of worn-out. Like, oh wow, that was a lot,” band member Taitlyn Gowlovech said.

Memories of Macy’s that will stay with these talented musicians for many Thanksgivings to come.

“I’ll never forget it, ever. I’ll think about it when I’m 90 years old,” Brooks said.

The band members spent their final night in New York on a Thanksgiving dinner cruise along the Hudson River.

Next up for the Pride of the Dakotas: a performance next weekend at the Jackrabbits’ football playoff game in Brookings.