DOWNERS GROVE – Youth baseball will be on parade Saturday in Downers Grove when hundreds of young athletes march down Main Street to officially kick off the season.
The parade is like "hot dogs, apple pie and baseball," Downers Grove Youth Baseball Parade Coordinator Rob Perry said. "Everybody looks forward to it. It has become one of those community things."
Perry initiated the first parade four years ago. It has grown from about 300 participants in its first year to more than 500 predicted for Saturday.
"For me, for us, it's a way for us to highlight something that's just American, something everybody knows and harkens back to their own youth baseball," he said. "You have to ask yourself, what 6, 7, 8 year-old doesn't like a parade? They love it. The kids really, really look forward to it and get jacked about it."
The event begins when the league's teams line-up at the parking lot on the northwest corner of Burlington and Main Street, in their uniforms, hats and gym shoes, not cleats. This year, White Sox mascot South Paw will great players until the parade launches at 8 a.m.
The route heads south on Main Street and finishes in Fishel park with a brief ceremony.During the ceremony, Hillcrest Elementary School 10-year-old Dillon Kohls will belt out the national anthem.
The anthem will be followed by comments from the league's board, and then a group sing-along of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame."
From there, teams will depart to diamonds across the village for the opening day of games.
All in all, Downers Grove Youth Baseball has more than 1,000 players, aged 6 to 16, though Saturday's parade is more geared for the younger half of that spectrum, he said, but all DGYB players and coaches are invited to participate.
IF YOU GO:
What: Downers Grove Youth Baseball Parade
When: 8 a.m. Saturday
Where: Main Street, Downers Grove
For more information, visit http://www.dgyb.org/
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