CINCINNATI — The Findlay Market Opening Day Parade is a landmark affair for Rachel Appenfelder and the Dunlap Café on Dunlap Street in Over-the-Rhine. The parade usually passes by just a block away, and gathering at the cafe before and after has become as much a tradition for some as the big event itself.
"We have been a hub for generations for Opening Day," Appenfelder said.
But this year -- as the coronavirus pandemic continues and with the parade postponed until next season -- they took matters into their own hands.
They held their own parade, complete with a fire engine escort.
"I think everybody collectively was so sad last year when we weren't able to do this, because Cincinnati is such a baseball town, and Opening Day really is a holiday," she told WCPO. "We're just so excited we can do a little bit of something that we're used to."
"It's been our starting place for years," said Bob Follick, who was at the cafe Thursday. "It's going to be more relaxed; you're not going to have as many people, but I know a few that's going to let loose," he laughed.
The cafe is known for its "old-timey" feel, said Paul Gallagher, a customer and grand marshal of the smaller-scale event that took a short tour through the neighborhood Thursday afternoon.
"It's probably the last of the old-time, Over-the-Rhine bars left, where you get the lunch, and the working man's lunch," he said. "This place, it's just old-timey like me."
The theme of the parade matched the aura of the cafe itself, with visitors dressed in vintage costumes and the game announcer's voice calling over the radio.
The crowd was small, but the Reds spirit was great, and the familiar faces made it all feel like home during a time when so much is uncertain.
"The Cincinnati Reds is a great tradition... a lot of people together. You see a lot of the same faces around here, and it's really neat to get to see," said Scott Flick, who was at the cafe Thursday.