Play ball! The Findlay Market Opening Day Parade is back

CINCINNATI — Baseball fans received a double helping of good news Thursday when Major League Baseball announced the end of its labor dispute and organizers of the Findlay Market Opening Day Parade confirmed the event was back.

Team owners and players have reached an agreement to end the 99-day lockdown. As a result, the iconic parade will now likely take place on April 12.

What do you want to know

  • Opening day is now scheduled for Tuesday, April 12
  • The parade was feared to be canceled for a third straight year due to a labor dispute between owners and MLB players.
  • The event draws tens of thousands of Cincinnati Reds fans and sports fans to downtown Cincinnati
  • Cincinnati’s unofficial holidays are also a major economic driver for the city’s small businesses, especially bars and restaurants.

Debbie Gannaway, one of the parade organizers, called the news “a gift and a relief”.

Originally scheduled for March 31, the annual parade did not take place in 2020 or 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The threat of a third consecutive cancellation disappointed many in the region.

“Nothing is ever 100%, but we’re pretty sure it will happen on April 12 and it will be awesome,” Gannaway said. “People have been waiting for this for years. They are more than ready.

MLB Opening Day is more than a sporting event in Cincinnati; it is a day when thousands of children and adults from all walks of life come together for a community celebration.

The start of each Cincinnati Reds season is an unofficial holiday in Southwestern Ohio. The team now known as the Reds is believed to be the first professional baseball team in the United States, playing its first game in May 1869.

The parade’s new date changes the event from a Thursday to a Tuesday, but Gannaway isn’t concerned that will affect attendance.

Gannaway, owner of Gramma Debbie’s Kitchen in Findlay Market, said the date change is a “blessing” as it won’t interfere so much with weekend business.

The Opening Day Parade, which winds its way from the Over-the-Rhine Market downtown and stops near the Great American Ball Park along the river, was also first held in 1869. It’s an important part of the festivities and kicks off a day of eating, drinking and playing baseball.

The parade usually starts around 10 a.m. at the market and ends around 1 p.m. just outside the Great American Ball Park. However, people queue hours before and can be found lingering in the city center long after the game final has been called.

It is not yet known when the parade will begin this year. The scheduled game with the Cleveland Guardians is set for 6:40 p.m., later than most of the Reds’ openers.

The typical parade features around 175 parade slots made up of entertainers, politicians, local celebrities and non-profit organizations – all of which have parade-worthy floats, props and banners.

Gannaway said as soon as the news broke on Thursday, she started getting phone calls from groups asking if they could participate in the parade.

The new date leaves “more than enough time to prepare,” she said.

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