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So Cincinnati: Findlay Market Opening Day Parade
CINCINNATI (Jeff Hirsh) -- The annual Findlay Market Opening Day parade has turned an important game into a party that lasts for much of the day.
It celebrates the oldest professional team in baseball, which takes the field for another season Monday at Great American Ball park.
The Findlay Market Opening Day Parade turns Cincinnati, a relatively big city, into the world's largest small town.
This year marks the 95th annual parade sponsored by the Findlay Merchants Association. But the first un-sponsored Opening Day Parade dates to 1891, consisting of three streetcars circling Fountain Square. After that, there were loosely organized community walks to nearby Crosley Field, until the Findlay Merchants began a parade in 1919 to publicize Findlay Market.
Neil Luken, parade chairperson, said, "Opening Day wasn't as big as it is now. It's just grown and grown, and Findlay Market became the center point of where people could meet and go to the ballpark."
One reason for that growth, Luken says, is a former Reds owner, "A lot of it has to do with Mrs. Schott. She kind of put the thing on the map and it got rolling."
The Opening Day Parade has taken on a life of its own. One day back in the 80's when there was a baseball strike, the season's opener was delayed. But they had the Opening Day Parade on the day scheduled for the original opener anyway. In other words, you can have Opening Day without Opening Day.
This year, the crowd could be 100,000. The parade has 200 entrants and some 7-10,000 people. And now, of course, the streetcar tracks run right by Findlay Market, and so in a few years when the streetcar is up and running you'll be able to have a streetcar in the parade, just like in the very first one.
Making the Findlay Market Parade even more So Cincinnati. It's the one day everyone puts their hats on and says, "I'm proud to be a Cincinnatian." This is what Cincinnati is all about.
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