Is there ever a day powered with such energy, such optimism? Being in Cincinnati on Opening Day is a magical experience, filling the darkest grouch with a sense of hope; the idea that a new season has begun, that this just might be The year, the greatest time to be alive.
And if the weather is good, as it was on March 31st, 2014, you can triple that feeling.
And this year, one could see that hope extending beyond baseball. For several years, the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood has been coming back from near-oblivion. And 2014 should erase any doubt about the renaissance.
The first time I rode in the Findlay Market Opening Day parade, the first few blocks along Race Street were sparsely populated by parade watchers. Between Liberty and Central, there were a few people but not many.
Then in 2012, there were more people north of Central Parkway. And in 2013, the crowds started closer to Liberty. This year, the parade crowd was solid, from when we left Findlay Market to Liberty, over to Elm, and all the way to the end. And, the end of the parade seems to be thicker with viewers as well.
Perhaps it was the sunshine that drew more people to see the parade, after the harsh winter, the need to be out in the warmth again. Perhaps it was simply the promise of the City's biggest party. Or maybe a renewed sense of optimism about the Reds and baseball. But, for certain, this was the biggest crowd I'd seen yet along the parade route.
Photos taken from the front seat of the ESPN 1530 van I was driving. See yourself in the crowd?