Updated March 28, 1:20 p.m.: The Reds have postponed Thursday's game due to weather. All Opening Day activities will now take place Friday, March 30, at the same times listed below.
This story as originally published follows.
First—in case you didn't already know—the annual Opening Day parade isn't actually on Opening Day.
Instead, the parade takes place Monday, April 2, beginning at noon at the usual Findlay Market. Why the delay? Because the market thought the event on Thursday, March 29, would be bad for Easter business. (That holiday falls on Sunday, April 1, this year.)
Still, there's plenty going on the day the Reds kick-off their season against the Washington Nationals beginning at 4:10 p.m. on Thursday, March 29. Here's what to expect:
11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.: Reds Community Fund Charity Block Party
Admission to this seventh annual event is free, and takes place on Joe Nuxhall Way, Freedom Way, and Walnut Street (here's a full street map). Live entertainment will be provided by The Naked Karate Girls and DJ ETrayn, and food and beverages will be available for purchase. All proceeds will benefit the baseball and softball programs at the P&G MLB Cincinnati Reds Youth Academy.
2:10 p.m.: Gates open at Great American Ball Park
All in attendance will receive Reds rally towels courtesy of Kroger, Cincinnati Bell Fioptics, and MSA Sport.
3:30 p.m.: Pregame ceremonies begin
Five local veterans will be honored on the field during an appreciation ceremony, and will be joined by Senator Rob Portman. At the same time, more than 100 men and women from the Cincinnati Fire Fighters Union Local 48 will hold a 150-ft x 300-ft American flag in the outfield.
Prior to the National Anthem, the Reds will pause to remember the lives of members of the Reds family who passed away during the offseason. Then, singer-songwriter Nicki Bluhm will sing the National Anthem. Bluhm, a native of California, performs at the Taft Theatre April 17.
The pregame flyover will be performed by two F-16 Fighting Falcons of the 112th Fighter Squadron "Stingers" from the 180th Fighter Wing Ohio Air National Guard base in Toledo.
Olympic freeskier Nick Goepper, a Lawrenceburg, Ind., native who just won his second medal, silver, at the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch. The famous Budweiser Clydesdales will deliver the ball to Goepper, while Reds Hall of Famer Eric Davis will deliver the official game ball.
Former Reds pitcher Randy Myers, one-third of the famous "Nasty Boys" from the 1990 World Series champions, will serve as the game's Honorary Captain.
4:10 p.m.: Opening Day game against the Washington Nationals begins
Throughout the game, a host of local residents will be honored:
- Dr. Jay Johannigman will be honored as the Cincinnati Bell Hometown Hero of the game. He is a colonel in the United States Air Force Reserve, professor of surgery at the UC College of Medicine, and the chief of the division of trauma and critical care.
- Lockland firefighter Michael Allen will be honored as the Kroger First Responder of the game.
- Finalists who entered the second annual Toyota Tundra sweepstakes will be recognized on the field at the end of the first inning. One will win a 2018 Toyota Tundra Double Cab 4x4 truck.
- During the seventh-inning stretch, John Driskell Hopkins of the Zac Brown Band will perform "God Bless America." The Zac Brown Band plays a concert at Great American Ball Park August 4.
Additional weekend events
The Reds play the Nationals through the weekend. On Saturday, March 31, the game begins at 2:10 p.m., and is the third annual Kids Opening Day. Children age 14 and younger will receive a free Reds cap, and the first 20,000 fans to enter the stadium will receive a 2018 team calendar.
Sunday's game against the Nationals begins at 4:10 p.m., and the first 20,000 fans will receive a 2018 magnetic schedule.
On Monday, April 2, the Reds play the Cubs starting at 4:10 p.m. Attendees also will receive a 2018 magnetic schedule at that game. Meanwhile, the Findlay Market parade will take place from noon to 2:00 p.m.