This is always one of my favorite weeks of the year. Our Best of Cincinnati issue is published, followed the next Monday by Opening Day, and Spring finally feels like it's arrived.
It's been a long, cold, lonely winter around these parts. When Daylight Saving Time popped up a while back, it seemed like Spring had sprung. And then we got 12 inches of snow, followed by two straight weeks of freezing temperatures.
Everyone's timing is a little off. Easter before Opening Day is rare -- it usually happens about twice a decade -- but this is ridiculous. Easter hasn't been this early since 1913 and won't happen again this early until 2160.
Of course that meant Ash Wednesday and Fat Tuesday were early as well. My trip to Mardi Gras seems like last year instead of just seven weeks ago.
But all is right with the world as Opening Day approaches. Flowers are starting to poke up here and there, I haven't worn gloves for a few days and that snow pile in the parking lot near our building has just about melted.
I didn't grow up in these parts, so Opening Day hasn't been ingrained in me since birth. But I've worked downtown the past 17 years and have seen enough Reds games and parades to understand that Opening Day is a major milestone on Cincinnati's calendar every year.
CityBeat's office is on Race Street, and the parade passes right in front of us. We always hang a banner from the building welcoming "The Best Opening Day Parade," reminding people that our Best of Cincinnati issue is on the streets.
(Note to self: Make sure someone's found the banner in the basement.)
We also have a float in the parade each year, and we make a point to feature a local band playing live music throughout the route. It's a small reminder about one of the best things in Cincinnati: The local music community is incredibly talented.
On Monday we'll be hosting Buckra on our rented flatbed truck, and they'll entertain parade-goers while trying not to fall off when the truck hits a bump. Past musical partners have included Da Mutts, The Stapletons, Baoku Afrobeat Band, Thee Shams and Jake Speed & the Freddies. We haven't lost anyone yet.
One of the guys in Buckra is CityBeat's own marketing and promotions coordinator, Dylan Speeg -- guess we didn't have to go far to lock up our parade talent. And get this: Dylan also did the cool stencil art for our cover and inside the Best of Cincinnati issue.
So it's all connected in a cosmic sort of way: Opening Day and Best of Cincinnati threaded through Dylan, Buckra, little pigs, longer days, baseball and Spring. Add in the NCAA Basketball Tournament and Xavier in the Sweet 16, the Bruce Springsteen concert last weekend and our Best of Cincinnati party at BlackFinn this Thursday night, and it's turning out to be an even better week than usual. Lucky us.
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