More than 100,000 spectators lined the streets of Central Avenue on Saturday anxiously awaiting the 41st annual Fiesta Bowl Parade. The two-mile route featured Stanford and Oklahoma State’s marching bands, accompanied by the bobble head team floats. The Fort McDowell Casino float feature an amazingly engineered eagle, which moved its head by an operator inside. The theme of the parade was the “The Spirit of the Southwest.”
The parade’s grand marshal tradition is rich with sports figures, including Jerry Rice, Mark Grace and last year’s honoree, Kurt Warner. This year it was Arizona Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson, the National League Manager of the Year.
Gibson said he was honored to represent the Diamondbacks and be a part of the community. Gibson also was involved with the pre-game activities on Monday night, including the coin toss on Monday night. Being a record setting wide receiver at Michigan State, he mentioned a feeling of excitement being on the field again and remembering his playing days.
Stanford and Oklahoma State fans enjoyed not only the parade but the perfect weather that the state of Arizona greeted them with.
One family in particular enjoyed the parade right from the comfort of its front yard. The Fessler’s family house is located right on Central Avenue, a place where Bill Fessler has lived his whole life and remembers watching the parade as a little boy. The family shows their hospitality by inviting neighbors over for breakfast and to watch all the festivities on parade day. Looks like I might be joining the Fessler family for some good food and good viewing for next year’s 2012 Fiesta Bowl Parade.