Let's face it: The threat of rain in the weather forecast for the 98th Findlay Market Opening Day Parade is not ideal, but that's not going to stop thousands of people from coming out who know they can't see anything like it anyplace else.
Parade Organizer Debbie Gannaway says there are 189 entries this year, about the same number as last year. She and others say they had trouble paring the online entries down. "We print them all out. We spread them out all over my dining room table and everybody sits around and then we start reading them. And we have the yes pile, the no pile and the maybe pile."
One of her favorites is a float from Maker's Mark. It will be in the last third of the parade. Near the front is the Grand Marshal, former Reds first baseman Sean Casey, a member of the Reds Hall of Fame. According to Gannaway, "No offense to the last guys, but maybe the cutest Grand Marshal we've had in a while."
Twenty-three high school bands will march down Race Street and east on Fifth Street. In addition, Gannaway says there are a lot of big name entertainers and sports people. "We don't have George Clooney, well, maybe one day we will. Anyway, we have a number of country music singers on different floats."
She says people are really stepping up their game as they compete to get into the parade.
No matter what happens, Gannaway tells parade goers, "Show up, enjoy it and be cool!"
Transportation and Parking
The streetcar will be closed during the parade and so will Government Square. Buses are expected to resume after 3:00. Cincinnati Bell Connector service will start no later then 4:00 p.m.
The City of Cincinnati says parking is available in many lots north of Third Street. You can also park along East Pete Rose Way, Eggleston Avenue and near Sawyer Point. There is also parking north and west of Paul Brown Stadium.
The Cincinnati Reds play the Phillies in the latest starting Opening Day game since 2003 at 4:10 p.m. The Reds and Philadelphia are meeting for the seventh time on Opening Day since 1958. Cincinnati leads the series 4-2.
Mariana Van Hoose will sing the National Anthem. President and CEO of GE Aviation David Joyce will throw out the first pitch. Cincinnati Fire Fighters Union Local 48 will hold a 150 foot by 300 foot flag in the outfield. A pregame flyover will be performed by two F-16 Falcons out of Toledo.