By now, you’ve heard we, the collective residents of Northeastern Ohio, have been doing some celebrating since Sunday night. And we’ve been fully entitled to it: 52 years of a major professional sports drought will make a fan base stir crazy! So it was only appropriate that the city of Cleveland bring us together on the streets of downtown for the biggest celebration any of us could ever imagine.
The catch? We haven’t done a soiree of this size before, at least not any time in recent history. And the event professional in me couldn’t take some mental notes on what really worked and what could have been more successful. So here’s a few tips for all of us to remember for next time… which based on how the Indians are playing, might not be to far away!
First, for the poor souls in charge of planning these types of affairs:
Throw some extra money at the following:
- Crowd barricades: I can’t tell you how many times we had a front row spot, and then didn’t.
- Amenities in the port-o-potties: Thanks to whomever realized ordering them was a great idea. Next time: quadruple the toilet paper order.
- Trash cans: We would have been happy to help with the clean up efforts if there were somewhere to conveniently put our rubbish!
- Public transportation: If you haven’t read this Cleveland Scene article on the RTA killin’ their Twitter game yesterday, click on over.
- Bonuses for the Cleveland Police: The police officers worked so hard yesterday and deserve so much more than the “good job” I can offer.
Invite any other regional sports legends that have ever won a championship.
Not pictured: The Lake Erie Monsters team with the Calder Cup.
Remind entertainment acts that mounting road signage might not be the best idea.
Provide back up t-shirts for parade participants.
Just kidding — they ain’t going to wear them anyways.
Now, for those of us crazy enough to attend:
Make plans ASAP. I know this was a fast turnaround, less than 48 hours even, but do what you can to be prepared. If you’re employed, make sure to give your employer as much notice as you can (and to get ahead of those pesky coworkers who waited til the last minute and were stuck back at the office yesterday.) Find a small backpack situation and pack bottled water and snacks. Sure there were food trucks nearby, but really — do you want to be eating chicken wings while elbow to elbow with all of Cleveland, Ohio? And SUNSCREEN. My uneven tan lines and Rudolph-the-Reindeer-looking nose implores you.
Be flexible when your plans go South. As all of Northeastern Ohio was encouraged to consider public transportation as the way to go, I spent way too much time on Tuesday resesarching my rapid and bus options. What happened when we woke up Wednesday? We jumped in our car and drove downtown. The parking gods gifted us with a $10 lot only a 15-minute walk away from Progressive Field. If I stuck with my over-thought out, original plan, we would have been stuck in line for a rapid at parade start time.
Have your camera ready at all times. You never know when that guy who scored the winning shot will drive by.
Oh hey, Kyrie…
Be ready to have your photo taken at any moment. Some will be the stuff Facebook profile photos are made of. Some will be a remembrance of your 21 and a half week baby bump. (I gotta start remembering to take those weekly progress photos!)
For the love of God, do NOT bring your dog. Now service dogs I understand. What I’m talking about? Think like if I brought Grady down with us. I saw two poor fuzzes who looked terrified out of their minds. Please leave your fuzzes in the peace and quiet (and hopefully air conditioning) of your home with the television or radio on tuned into the festivities! They will be very happy you didn’t take them out in this:
Not my photo, but I don’t know who originally took it either — if you do, let me know so I can credit!
You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar. With 1.3 million of your closest friends and soon-to-be friends abound, things are bound to get tight and probably cranky. Those who I heard yell and scream to get their way yesterday actually didn’t, and those who remembered to use “please” and “thank you” still managed to make it to the front row to get up close and personal with their favorite players.
Make way for the King. We waited in the hot, summer sun all day long (after waiting 52 years for a championship) to celebrate what this man promised us:
…so give the man and his Rolls-Royce some room. There was plenty of space for all of us to share our gratitude. (And thanks to my husband and his brother for sticking it out to the bitter end to take this photo from the front row of the crowd.)
Call it a day when you’ve had enough. At five months pregnant, a few loved ones (and Facebook friends) thought I was nuts for heading downtown into the madness that was yesterday. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world, but I also knew to be realistic about how much I could do and for how long. And when I was at 85% of my limit, I grabbed our car keys from Hans, made sure he had a ride home and headed back to Parma to watch the rally presentation on WKYC. It was the perfect way to end a perfect day that we’ll all never forget.
Can’t get enough of the Cavs championship celebration? For your reading pleasure:
- Cavaliers inspired by replica NBA Finals trophy cut into puzzle via ESPN
- Titles and Tears via NBC Sports
- The Arc of the LeBron James Story Reaches Its Climax via The New York Times
- Goodyear blimp offers best view of Cavs parade via cleveland.com