CINCINNATI — Thousands of people will migrate Downtown this Thursday for the Queen City's largest "unofficial" holiday – Reds Opening Day.
This year's festivities will be extra special as the city celebrates the 100th annual Findlay Market Opening Day Parade and the 150th anniversary since the Cincinnati Redlegs became America's first professional baseball team.
Here are nine things to know about the parade before you go.
The Opening Day Parade will start at noon near Findlay Market on Race Street and make its way down to Fifth Street, passing Fountain Square before ending near the Taft Theatre.
More than 160 civic groups and other organizations are signed up to march in the parade. Those participants are expected to start gathering at 8 a.m. Thursday near Findlay Market.
Parade Grand Marshal
In February, the Cincinnati Reds and Findlay Market Association named Commissioner of Major League Baseball Rob Manfred as grand marshal of the 100th Findlay Market Opening Day Parade.
It only makes sense that the organizations selected such a notable guest to lead the Opening Day Parade for this landmark year.
Manfred joins a storied group of individuals who have lead the parade over the past 100 years. Click here to check out some of the past grand marshals.
Where to Watch
The secret to a successful Opening Day is picking a place along the route before you go . . .and arriving early to claim your spot.
Popular places to watch the parade include the intersection of Race and Fifth Streets, Washington Park and Fountain Square.
There's also a new parade-watching option this year. The Findlay Market Biergarten will open at 9 a.m. Thursday thanks to a partnership with 3 Points Urban Brewing in Pendleton. Many Findlay Market shops are also opening early to feed hungry Reds fans.
Click here for more information about the best spots to watch the parade.
Know Who is Next
Perhaps you know a participant in the parade or are just looking forward to seeing a favorite group that marches every year. With more than 160 groups marching, it's a good idea to study the parade lineup that Findlay Market publishes on its website each year.
One highlight will be the fourth grade class from St. Veronica School. This is the 12th year the fourth grade students have marched in the parade. For the 100th anniversary, they'll be dressed as historic Cincinnati business people. Look for them toward the end of the parade in position 126.
Places to Celebrate
There are plenty of places to celebrate Opening Day, both along the parade's route and nearby.
Cincinnati's oldest operating pub, Arnold's Bar and Grill will kick off festivities starting at 9 a.m. just a few blocks from Race Street at 210 E. Eighth St., Downtown. And after the parade ends make sure to head to the Banks for the Reds Community Fund Block Party at Joe Nuxhall and Freedom Way. That party begins at 11 a.m. Thursday
Click here for a comprehensive list of Opening Day parties and community events.
9 On Your Side
If you plan on moving around to watch the Opening Day Parade along different points of its route, make sure to visit Court and Race Streets, Downtown.
WCPO's own Tanya O'Rourke, John Popovich and Steve Raleigh will be broadcasting live from noon-2 p.m. near the Bob Sumerel Tire and Service lot. You can also catch their coverage on air or streaming on either the WCPO smartphone app or the station's Facebook page.
And don't forget to look for WCPO's float early on in the parade!
There are a few great two-wheeled options if you do want to make your way quickly around the parade route.
Staying with the theme of Opening Day, renting a Red Bike is always convenient. Just make sure to download the Red Bike smartphone app and created an account before leaving home. The app is the easiest way to rent a bike and will help you locate the nearest Red Bike station.
And please remember with so many people packing sidewalks it's super important to follow the rules of the road and be courteous to those around you.
Other Things to Know Before You Go
Lest we forget, the Findlay Market Opening Day Parade wouldn't exist without the Cincinnati Reds.
With that in mind, you'll want to check out these stories before the Reds take on the Pittsburgh Pirates at 4:10 p.m. inside Great American Ball Park.
WCPO editorial cartoonist Kevin Necessary produced this great animated video about the Reds' 1919 World Series win. How many WCPO reporter voices can you recognize in the video?
This season the Reds will introduce new manager David Bell, along with a host of other staffing changes. WCPO contributor Jeff Wallner details those changes about the revamped staff here.
Finally, we'd love to see all the fun you're having on Opening Day.