CINCINNATI (WKRC) – A proud Cincinnati tradition made a triumphant return Tuesday after a two-year hiatus.
The Findlay Market Opening Day Parade was canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19 safety concerns.
With just 135 floats, this parade will go down as one of the smallest in 20 years, but organizers say it won’t lack in quality.
As in years past, the floats are being furnished by a Northeast Ohio firm.
“We are their favorite parade and they tell me consistently that we have one of the best parades in the whole Midwest,” said organizer Kevin Luken.
Even former Bengals players on hand at a VIP pre-opening reception Monday night says he has missed the Opening Day tradition.
“It’s been rough. I mean, been rough for everybody,” said former Bengals player Ickey Woods.
“Not only the Opening Day, I mean, we’re looking for a championship season. We’re routing for the baseball team to carry on what the football team did, and bring home a championship to Cincinnati,” said former Bengal David Fulcher.
The pandemic not only forced organizers to cancel two past parades, but also to scrap an idea first dreamt up for the 2020 season.
“I thought how cool it would be to have a Cincinnati Olympic float, so I just started going through and finding Olympians,” said organizer Jeffrey Gladish.
All six of those Olympians were on hand Monday and plan to take part in Tuesday’s parade.
“I’ve never been to Opening Day, so I’m real excited,” said Nick Goepper, who placed in three Olympics games for freestyle skiing.
The parade kicks off at 12 p.m. It starts at Findlay Market, follows Race Street to Fountain Square and then continues east on Fifth Street to the Taft Theatre.