Parade chairman says Opening Day is like ‘Christmas in the middle of spring'

CINCINNATI -- It’s almost here.

Stages are being built along Joe Nuxhall Way, 40 floats await the Findlay Market Opening Day Parade and people are sporting a little more red than normal.

No, it’s not technically Christmas, but that really depends who you ask.

Opening Day might as well be Christmas for parade chairman Neil Luken.

“Opening Day has become a holiday in Cincinnati,” Luken said. “This phenomenon that we call Opening Day has exploded like we never expected it to. Between the parade, the block party, the game, it’s just an all day event. It’s really Cincinnati’s day to shine in the sun.”

MORE: Use this map to find all you need on Opening Day, from parking to road closures 

Cincinnati may not see too much sun on Opening Day, but the festivities will go on.

“We’ve done it in the snow, we’ve done it in the rain, we’ve done it in the cold, we’ve done it when it’s been a nice spring day … bring an umbrella, bring a poncho, bring whatever you need, and we’re going to show you a good time,” Luken said.

Watch your Opening Day forecast in the player below.

 

Forty floats, 189 units and 20 high school bands and drill teams will march along the streets Monday, Luken said.

Carol Buquo said she’ll be there; she’s been to every Opening Day parade for the last 10 years.

“Cincinnati comes together, and they celebrate something everybody can relate to, which is our sports team,” Buquo said.

“It’s so Cincinnati.”

Roland Blazedale, of Indianapolis, has been a Reds fan his entire life.

“Grew up a Reds fan, my whole family are Reds fans -- 8th straight Opening Day, I wouldn't miss it,” Blazedale said.

Local businesses are gearing up for the big day.

Holy Grail Manager Nick Ramsey said keeping the beer cold and stocked is top priority.

"We’re quadrupling the size of our patio , loading up beer tubs, stocking -- beer, liquor, ice --  anywhere we can stick it,” Ramsey said. 

For Luken, the excitement isn’t in all of the extravagant floats or Reds paraphernalia.

“My favorite thing is the nice people I’ve met through the years … and the overwhelming support,” Luken said. “When you go downtown and you see 100,000 people lining the streets for a parade, it’s just unbelievable. It really does something for my heart.”

View the list below for all Opening Day road closures. The streetcar will not run during the parade. 

Road closures

The following streets will close at 6 p.m. Sunday and remain closed until after Monday's Opening Day game:

  • Joe Nuxhall Way: between Second Street and Mehring Way
  • Freedom Way: between Rosa Parks Street and Joe Nuxhall Way

The following streets will close at 8 a.m. Monday:

  • Race Street: between Liberty and McMicken streets
  • Elm Street: between Liberty and McMicken streets
  • Findlay Street: between Central Parkway and Vine Street
  • Elder Street: between Central Parkway and Vine Street
  • Green Street: between Vine and Logan streets
  • Henry Street: between Race and Dunlap streets
  • Dunlap Street: between Findlay and McMicken streets
  • Logan Street: between Liberty and Findlay streets

The following streets will close at 11:15 a.m. Monday:

  • Liberty Street: between Vine Street and Central Parkway
  • Central Parkway: between Vine and Elm streets
  • Race Street: between Liberty and Fourth streets
  • Fifth Street: between Elm and Sentinel streets
  • Fifteenth Street: between Republic and Elm streets
  • Fourteenth Street: between Elm and Republic streets
  • Thirteenth Street: between Race and Vine streets
  • Twelfth Street: between Elm and Vine streets
  • Court Street: between Elm and Vine streets
  • Ninth Street: between Elm and Vine streets
  • Eighth Street: between Elm and Vine streets
  • Seventh Street: between Elm and Vine streets
  • Sixth Street: between Elm and Vine streets
  • Vine Street: between Fourth and Sixth streets
  • Walnut Street: between Fourth and Sixth streets
  • Main Street: between Fourth and Sixth streets
  • Sycamore Street: between Fourth and Sixth streets
  • Broadway Street: between Fourth and Sixth streets
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