Opening Day parade is about more than just baseball - Toledo News Now, News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Opening Day parade is more than just baseball

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -

Findlay Market's annual Opening Day parade was held on Monday.

To Cincinnatians, the parade is about more than just baseball. The parade is steeped in tradition that goes back nearly 100 years and is somewhat of a holiday in Cincinnati.

"This is Cincinnati's unofficial holiday," said parade chairman Neil Luken. "I mean it's kind of, you can say, Thanksgiving or Christmas. You just say Opening Day and people concede that with a holiday."

There is electricity in the air.

"Everybody seems real excited. Everybody's kind of pumped up," explains Luken. "Everybody thinks the Reds are going to do real well this year."

Monday brought an organized chaos to Findlay Market as 189 marching bands, floats and other entrants made their final preparations for the 94th Annual Opening Day Parade.

With nearly 5,000 participants, the parade takes a lot of planning. With so many participants, Luken explains that it is hard to please everyone.

"The problem is we only have so much room to stage the parade and so much time. This year, due to the parade getting longer and longer, we had to cut the parade back some this year which has made some people very unhappy and for that we are sorry. We do apologize, but in order to make the parade grow, so to speak, to a better parade we need to cut the parade back," he said.

The parade lasted about two hours. Any longer, and Luken says spectators begin to lose interest.

This year's Grand Marshal was a member of the Big Red Machine, George Foster. Reds pitchers Mat Latos and Bronson Arroyo were also on hand, along with 100,000 spectators.

The parade kicked off at noon from Findlay Market.

Copyright 2013 WXIX. All rights reserved.

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