Opening Day is probably the coolest thing about Cincinnati. What other city has its own self-proclaimed, sports-related holiday respected by Fortune 500 companies, public school systems and private businesses alike?
No one should have to do anything on Monday, March 31 except celebrate the upcoming Reds season and the fact that in 1869 some smart person assembled a full lineup of salaried players who traveled around kicking the crap out of all the amateur and semi-pro teams.
The Findlay Market Opening Day Parade kicks off the festivities at noon, heading south from Findlay Market toward Fountain Square along a slightly altered route to avoid streetcar construction (south on Elm to Central Parkway, then south on Race). Big Red Machine shortstop Dave Concepcion will grand marshal the parade, along with dignitaries Teddy Kremer and Anthony Munoz.
And plenty of locations around town will have specials and events on Monday to celebrate.
Rally on the Square: Give Back Cincinnati is partnering with Christian Moerlein and Local 12 for Rally on the Square. The event is a great way to enjoy the excitement before the game with food, drinks and music, all while supporting charity. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Free. Fountain Square, Fifth and Vine streets, Downtown, myfountainsquare.com.
Opening Day Celebration: The celebrations continue at Washington Park with family-friendly activities, concessions and live music from local rock band Cherry on Top. View the Findlay Market Opening Day Parade from the park at noon and stick around to watch the Reds defeat the Cardinals on the giant LED screen. 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Free. Washington Park, 1230 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, washingtonpark.org.
Opening Day with Via Vite:
Chef de Cuisine Joel Warner will be preparing authentic Italian dishes alongside drink specials on the restaurant's open-air Piazza Bar on Fountain Square. Get an Italian-style coney, veal and ricotta meatballs, Findlay Market grilled Italian sausage with peperonata plus Peroni drafts and Miller Light buckets. 520 Vine St., Downtown, viaviterestaurant.com.
Arnold's Opening Day:
Arnold's Opening Day tradition continues with breakfast, keg tappings, live music, live theater and Jim Tarbell. The day kicks off with breakfast at Arnold's 9-11 a.m, plus seven keg tappings (Three Floyd’s Alpha King, The Brew Kettle’s White Raja, Founder’s Imperial Stout, Great Lakes Chillwave Double IPA, Blank Slate’s Long Way Home Chocolate IPA, Rhinegeist’s Saber Tooth Tiger and MadTree’s Rounding Third and Heading for Home Red IPA) at 9 a.m. Random keg cups will be marked; if you get a marked cup, you can win more than 80 prizes ranging from free Cincinnati Reds rookie cards, game-used memorabilia cards, vintage cards from the '50s and '60s and autographed baseball cards. Starting at 11 a.m., pianist Todd Hepburn will play every baseball song you can think of, plus the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company's Jeremy Dubin and Justin McCombs will be performing Casey at Bat and Who's on First. Tarbell will also be in the house dressed as Peanut Jim Shelton and playing the mouth harp. 210 E. Eighth St., Downtown, arnoldsbarandgrill.com.
Opening Day at Neons Unplugged: Neons unlocks their doors at noon for a party debuting the Neons Anniversary Porter, brewed by Listermann Brewing Co. They'll also have plenty of MadTree's Rounding Third Amber IPA and selections from Revolution Brewing in Chicago. Taste513 starts the grill at noon, serving burgers and sandwiches. Mazunte Mexican takes over the grill at 6 p.m. 208 E. 12th St., Downtown, facebook.com/neonsunplugged
The Opening Day game against the St. Louis Cardinals starts at 4:10 p.m.