There’s something magical about the Cincinnati Reds’ opening day that just sweeps me off my feet every year. It’s not just the promise of a fresh baseball season; it’s the entire city coming alive with excitement and tradition. From the Findlay Market Parade to the buzz in the air around Great American Ball Park, it’s a day that brings everyone together, no matter what team you root for.

I’ve been part of this annual celebration more times than I can count, and each year, it feels like the first time. The energy, the fans decked out in red and white, the smell of ballpark snacks—it’s all part of the unforgettable experience. Let me take you through some of the must-do activities that make Cincinnati’s opening day an event you won’t want to miss.

Findlay Market Parade

The morning of the Cincinnati Reds opening day has always begun with anticipation, but there’s nothing quite like the excitement that buzzes through the air as the Findlay Market Parade kicks off. It’s an event that I’ve attended faithfully year after year, and each time, it feels just as thrilling as the first.

The Findlay Market Parade has been a staple of the city’s opening day festivities for as long as I can remember. It’s not just any parade; it captures the heart and soul of Cincinnati. The streets are lined with families, fans, and visitors all gathered to celebrate the beginning of a new baseball season. The sense of community is overwhelming, in the best way possible.

What makes the parade truly unique is the diverse array of participants. From local high school bands playing upbeat tunes, mascots dancing alongside, to colorful floats representing different aspects of the city’s culture, there’s something for everyone. I’m always amazed at the creativity displayed, and I look forward to seeing the elaborate designs each year.

Not to mention, the parade also features appearances by current and former Cincinnati Reds players. Catching a glimpse of my favorite players up close, waving and acknowledging their fans, adds a personal touch to the whole experience. It reminds me why I love this city and its team so much.

For those planning to attend for the first time, here are a few tips I’ve picked up over the years:

  • Arrive Early: The parade starts at midday, but spots along the route fill up quickly. I usually aim to get there a couple of hours in advance to secure a good view.
  • Dress for the Weather: Early April in Cincinnati can be unpredictable. I always layer up and bring a Reds cap to shield myself from either the sun or rain.
  • Enjoy Local Eats: Findlay Market, where the parade begins, is home to some of the best food vendors in the city. Grabbing a bite there before the parade starts is a must-do.

The Findlay Market Parade is more than just an opening act for the baseball season; it’s a celebration of Cincinnati’s spirit and community. There’s a genuine camaraderie among everyone in attendance, united by a shared love for baseball and the city. Every cheer, every wave, and every smile shared along the parade route underscores the anticipation and excitement for the Reds’ first pitch of the season.

Pre-game Tailgating

When it comes to celebrating the Cincinnati Reds opening day, tailgating is an art form that I’ve seen mastered year after year. The parking lots around the stadium transform into a sea of red, where fans decked out in their best Reds gear gather hours before the first pitch. It’s not just about grilling and games; it’s a communal ritual that kicks off the baseball season with enthusiasm and camaraderie.

Walking through the tailgating scene, I’m always amazed by the setups. Some groups go all out with elaborate tents, Reds flags waving proudly, and even TVs set up to catch up on pre-game shows. The smell of hot dogs, brats, and burgers fills the air, mingling with the sound of music and laughter. It’s a feast for the senses and a clear indication that Reds fans take their opening day festivities seriously.

For anyone planning to join in on the tailgating fun, I’ve picked up a few tips over the years:

  • Arrive Early: Parking spots fill up fast, especially those closest to the stadium. By getting there early, you’ll secure a prime spot and have more time to enjoy.
  • Pack Wisely: Besides the grill and food, don’t forget chairs, games like cornhole, and of course, plenty of water and sunscreen if it’s a sunny day.
  • Embrace the Community: Tailgating is as much about the people as it is about the food. Walk around, chat with fellow fans, and you might just make some new friends or learn a few new recipes.
  • Respect the Space: Remember to clean up before heading into the game. Keeping the lots clean shows respect for the city and the team we’re all there to support.

The anticipation builds as the start time nears, and the crowd begins to move towards the stadium entrance. It’s a special feeling, walking with hundreds of other fans, all sharing the same excitement for the game to come. Tailgating sets the perfect tone for the day, filled with hopes and dreams for the season ahead.

Great American Ball Park Festivities

After soaking in the lively atmosphere of tailgating, my journey on the Cincinnati Reds’ opening day takes me to the heart of the celebration: the Great American Ball Park. The moment I step closer to the stadium, I’m greeted by a sea of red—an overwhelming show of team spirit that immediately boosts my excitement.

One of the first things I notice is the Opening Day Parade. It’s a spectacle that’s been a tradition for as long as I can remember, featuring elaborate floats, high school marching bands, and a grand marshal leading the way. The enthusiasm is palpable as fans line the streets, cheering and waving their Reds flags with pride. It’s an experience that feels like it unites the entire city, and I always make sure to arrive early to secure a good spot along the parade route.

Inside the ballpark, the festivities continue with a special sense of anticipation for the first pitch. There are so many activities and sights that it’s hard to choose where to start. I’ve learned that the Fan Zone is a must-visit. It offers everything from interactive games and photo opportunities with team mascots to live music and entertainment. For families, it’s a treasure trove of activities that can keep the kids engaged and excited.

Another highlight is the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum. I never pass up the chance to wander through the exhibits, each visit reminding me of the rich history and legendary players who’ve donned the Reds uniform. It’s a walk through memory lane that also offers a glimpse into the team’s bright future.

As game time approaches, the anticipation builds up to the ceremonial first pitch—a moment that officially signals the start of the season. The crowd’s energy reaches its peak, and I find myself swept up in the collective hope and excitement for what the season might bring. There’s something deeply communal about sharing these moments with thousands of other fans, each of us united by our love for the Reds.

Throughout the game, the cheer of the crowd, the crack of the bat, and the roar of excitement with every home run are experiences that stay with me long after the day has ended. Amidst the chants and the clapping, I’m reminded of why opening day at the Great American Ball Park is an event I’ll keep coming back to, year after year.

Player Introductions and National Anthem

Walking into the Great American Ball Park on opening day, there’s an electrifying buzz that lets you know something special’s about to happen. Right after everyone’s settled in, the player introductions start, serving as the perfect buildup to the game. It’s a moment I always look forward to, seeing each player take their moment in the spotlight, jogging onto the field to the sound of roaring applause. Fans like me can’t help but stand up, cheer, and show our support. It’s a powerful reminder of the community and connection we all share through our love for the Reds.

But the true emotional peak of the opening ceremonies comes with the National Anthem. There’s something deeply moving about standing there, shoulder to shoulder with thousands of fellow fans, hats off, eyes on the flag, as someone steps up to deliver “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Whether it’s a local celebrity or a surprise guest, the performance always seems to capture the gravity of the moment. The combination of excitement for the game ahead, pride in our team, and the collective respect for the anthem creates a unifying feeling that’s hard to describe.

Then, as the final notes of the anthem echo through the ballpark, a military flyover often marks the culmination of the pre-game ceremonies. The roar of the jets above, combined with the cheers below, sends shivers down your spine. It’s as if in that moment, everyone’s heart beats in unison, pumped for the game to start.

At this point, the energy in the stadium is palpable. Kids are wide-eyed with excitement, adults are filled with anticipation, and everyone’s decked out in their Reds gear, ready to witness the first pitch of the season. The player introductions and National Anthem set the perfect stage for what we all hope will be another memorable season of Cincinnati Reds baseball.

Post-game Fireworks

After the final out and as the anticipation among the crowd reached its zenith, the Cincinnati Reds’ opening day took a spectacular turn toward celebration with the post-game fireworks show. From my vantage point in the stadium, the immediate shift in atmosphere was undeniable. The excitement was palpable, a collective energy that seemed to bind everyone there, regardless of the game’s outcome.

The sky above the Great American Ball Park transformed into a canvas painted with vibrant colors and patterns, courtesy of the meticulously orchestrated fireworks display. Each burst of color was met with a chorus of “oohs” and “aahs” from the overjoyed fans, a testament to the beauty and awe such displays command. It’s moments like these that underscore the communal spirit of baseball, especially on opening day. The fireworks, synonymous with celebration and jubilation, provided a perfect coda to the day’s events.

I couldn’t help but take a moment to appreciate the effort and planning that goes into making these fireworks shows a reality. It’s not just about setting off fireworks; it’s about creating memories, painting the night sky with reminders of our shared passions and experiences. The spectacle is a fitting tribute to the game, the players, and most importantly, the fans who make all of this possible.

The fireworks also signify something larger than the game itself – a celebration of community and togetherness, principles at the very heart of Cincinnati Reds baseball. As the light show danced across the night sky, casting a glow over the faces in the crowd, I was reminded of the magic of opening day and the powerful role it plays in bringing people together, united in their love for the game.

Engaging in this timeless tradition, I realized that the post-game fireworks are more than just a stunning visual treat; they’re a symbol of the hope and excitement that a new season brings. They’re a reminder that, regardless of what the season holds, we come together to celebrate our team, our city, and our love for baseball. As the final glimmers of light faded from the sky, the energy and anticipation for the rest of the season lingered in the air, a promise of more shared moments and memories to come.


I’ve always believed that baseball has a unique way of bringing people together and the Cincinnati Reds’ opening day is a perfect example of this. The post-game fireworks aren’t just a show; they’re a celebration of community spirit and the beginning of a season filled with hope. Watching those vibrant colors light up the sky, I couldn’t help but feel connected to everyone around me. We were all there for the love of the game, sharing in the excitement and looking forward to the memories we’d make. It’s moments like these that remind me why baseball holds such a special place in our hearts. Here’s to a season of great games, shared experiences, and the magic that only baseball can bring.


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