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Opening Day: Cincinnati's unofficial holiday

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March 31, 2014 marks an unofficial holiday in Cincinnati, opening day for the Cincinnati Reds. As the first professional baseball team, the Cincinnati Reds have a long and storied history while the Cincinnati fans have a long love affair with the hoopla of Opening Day.

As in years past, this year is no exception with extensive celebrations from a block party and parade to many other special appearances and traditions. Festivities for Opening Day kick off at 11 a.m. with a block party at Joe Nuxhall Way and Freedom Way. The Findlay Market Opening Day Parade starts off from Findlay Market on Race Street at NOON. Former Reds shortstop Dave Concepcion serves as Grand Marshal for this year's parade, joining an extensive line-up of former Reds players, celebrities, and other dignitaries who have served as grand marshal.

In addition to his duties as parade grand marshal, Dave Concepcion—along with fellow former Reds shortstop and hometown favorite, Barry Larkin—will throw out the ceremonial first pitch. The Cincinnati Reds take on the St. Louis Cardinals starting at 4:10 p.m.

The Cincinnati Reds played their first professional season in 1869 as the Red Stockings. They became charter members of the National League in 1876, but were thrown out of the National League in 1880, then playing in the newly formed American Association for eight years The first Opening Day was celebrated in Cincinnati in 1889 and the first Opening Day parade took place in 1891.

Findlay Market is the oldest continuously operating public market in Ohio and is located in historic Over-the-Rhine. The market is open year-round Tuesday through Sunday and features both indoor and outdoor vendors depending on the season.

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