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Findlay Market Opening Day Parade canceled due to coronavirus

100-year streak ends for beloved Cincy tradition
Posted at 9:44 PM, Mar 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-12 11:06:01-04

Editor’s note: With our coronavirus coverage, our goal is not to alarm you but to equip you with the information you need. We will try to keep things in context and focus on helping you make decisions. See a list of resources and frequently asked questions at the end of this story.

CINCINNATI — Rain, snow, sun, strike or lockout, you could always count on the Findlay Market Opening Day Parade. But a 100-year streak is ending for the beloved Cincinnati tradition.

Findlay Market merchants canceled this year’s parade Wednesday night in a post on their website. The decision followed appeals from Gov. Mike DeWine and Mayor John Cranley to call off large events that could promote the spread of coronavirus.

WCPO 9 News confirmed with a Findlay Market spokesperson that the parade, set for noon on Thursday, March 26, would not be rescheduled. So far, the Reds and the St. Louis Cardinals are still scheduled to play at 4:10 p.m.

The one-of-a-kind parade has a colorful history and created a holiday atmosphere that made Cincinnati Opening Day the envy of every other baseball city, attracting thousands of ticket holders and families to the parade route each year.

The parade actually started in 1890, fans resurrected it in 1905 and the Findlay Market merchants took it over in 1920. A parade has been held every year since, according to baseball historian John Erardi, who teamed with Greg Rhodes on several Reds history books, including “Opening Day: Celebrating Cincinnati's Baseball Holiday.”

That colorful history includes:

  • A parade on the day after an Easter Sunday night made-for-TV opener in 1994, when Reds owner Marge Schott dissed Baseball and ESPN by referring to Monday’s parade and game as “the real Opening Day.” Schott demanded that stadium crews save the bunting and other trappings for Monday’s game, and all but told fans to stay away from the Sunday night game. And they did. There were 22,000 empty seats.
  • A parade when there wasn’t a game in 1995, due to a players strike that postponed the start of the season. Schott and Findlay Market merchants insisted on holding the parade on the day it had been scheduled, April 3, even though the season didn’t begin until April 26. One highlight of the 1995 parade was a “Replacement Float,” created to mock the owners’ threat to use replacement players to fill their rosters. "I personally rate this the quirkiest and arguably greatest off-field Reds-related feat in the 150-year history of the franchise,” Erardi said.

WATCH highlights from the 1995 parade:

  • Weather interfered in 1966, when the Reds opener was rained out three days in a row and the team started the season in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. They were 1-5 when they finally celebrated Opening Day with a parade ending at Crosley Field on April 21.
  • Four inches of snow didn’t stop the parade – or the game - in 1977. Plows cleared the streets and two Zambonis sucked the snow off the AstroTurf at Riverfront Stadium and blew it over the outfield fence.
  • In 1990, the year the Reds went wire to wire and won the World Series, team owners locked players out of spring training in a labor dispute and delayed the season. Instead of opening here, the Reds went on the road and won seven straight in Houston and Atlanta before coming home on April 17. “Parade guru Jeff Gibbs amazingly staged the parade with only 20 days lead time,” Erardi said.
  • In 2018, the parade came four days after Opening Day. The MLB schedulemaker had the Reds open on Holy Thursday before Easter. Findlay Market merchants said that was one of their biggest business days of the year, so they opted for the traditional Monday to hold the parade.

Find more coronavirus/COVID-19 hotlines and resources below:


  • Department of Health COVID-19 hotline: 833-4-ASK-ODH
  • See ODH’s COVID-19 resources here.


  • State COVID-19 hotline: 1-800-722-5725
  • See the Cabinet for Health and Family Services coronavirus resource site here.


  • SDH Epidemiology Resource Center: (317) 233-7125 or (317) 233-1325 after hours, or e-mail
  • See more information for coronavirus in Indiana here.

What is coronavirus, COVID-19?

According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses are "a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).

A novel coronavirus, such as COVID-19, is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.

COVID-19 was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China and has now been detected in 37 locations across the globe, including in the U.S., according to the CDC.

The CDC reports the initial patients in China have some link to a large seafood and live animal market, indicative of animal-to-person spread. A growing number of patients, however, did not report exposure to animal markets, indicating the disease is spreading person-to-person.

What are the symptoms? How does it spread?

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death, according to the CDC. Symptoms can include fever, cough, shortness of breath.

The CDC said symptoms could appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. It is similar to the incubation period for MERS.

Spread of the virus is thought to be mainly from person-to-person. Spread is between people who are in close contact with one another (within about six feet). Spread occurs via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

According to the CDC, it could be possible for a person to get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, the CDC said.

The disease is most contagious when people are the sickest and showing the most symptoms.