(Editor's note: The following is a news release from the city of Akron.)
Little infielders, outfielders, pitchers and catchers will be lined up on South Main Street this Saturday for the annual All American Baseball and Softball Parade in downtown Akron.
Leagues from around the city -- Goodyear Heights, North Akron, Ellet, Kenmore, West Akron Little League and West Akron Baseball League -- will send a total of 1,200 youngsters to parade down Main Street and be cheered on by family and fans Saturday morning beginning at 11 a.m..
The route begins at Cedar and Main streets, heads north on Main to Bowery and then west on Bowery to finish at Lock 4.
"They'll walk through Lock 4 to get to Lock 3 and the food," said Brittany Schmoekel, Akron's community events coordinator. "I'm sure they will have worked up quite an appetite. At Lock 3, the kids will get to grab a free hot dog provided by Sugardale (and buns donated by Dave's Market). Ohio Pure Foods is donating juice, and Dan-Dee is bringing the potato chips."
All of the children will receive a voucher to see an Akron Racer's game for free and a special discount coupon for one Akron Aeros game. Participants also will receive a raffle ticket to be entered to win prizes, including Akron Aeros loge seats, game tickets and bicycles, among other offerings.
Mayor Don Plusquellic said he's honored to have this year's parade marshal be Coach Dru Joyce II and the St. Vincent - St. Mary State Champion Boys Basketball Team.
"I can think of no better example we could give the kids from right in their hometown than Dru and his championship squad," said Plusquellic. "When these youngsters get to see these high school athletes who worked so hard to be the best in the state of Ohio, it's a terrific model to follow."
An awards ceremony at Lock 3 will follow the parade.
Inflatable activities also will be available at Lock 3 until 2 p.m., including an Obstacle Course, Moon Walk, Bungee Trampoline, Titanic Slide, Rock Climbing Wall and Combo Castle; Magical Train rides will take place along the towpath; Akron Aeros employees will offer behind-the-scenes tours of Canal Park stadium; autographs from the Akron Racers will be given out; by visiting the Diamond Classic table, Little Leaguers in uniform will receive a free ticket to the Diamond Classic game at Canal Park on May 19; a base running competition will take place; and music and games will be provided by Beach Boyz Entertainment.
Keith Kennedy from 98.1 WKDD will serve as emcee of the event.