Opening Day in downtown St. Louis is an unofficial holiday. And since it is a holiday, there are parties, better known as pep rallies. I thought I’d write a post about the various Opening Day pep rallies, for those out of town or those locals who are nowhere near downtown on Opening Day. I work 2 blocks from Busch Stadium at 8th and Market, so it was an easy walk for me to most of these rallies. I spent my lunch half-hour (okay, more like 40 minutes) visiting the rallies. The photos posted below are from my cell phone, so I apologize in advance if the quality is not the greatest.
The first pep rally I went to was the official Opening Day pep rally (the one that the Cardinals sponsor) was located in front of the Team Store at Busch Stadium this year. This rally used to be held at the corner of Broadway and Clark Street, but now that Ballpark Village construction is underway, the pep rally had to find a new home.
There was a band playing.
Fredbird signed autographs.
Hardee’s had a food booth and if you bought a combo deal, you got a free t-shirt.There were Dunkin Donuts and Krispy Kreme samples. The Muny had a wheel you could spin to win free tickets to see a musical. That line went down most of the block on Clark Street and since I was on my lunch break, I didn’t join the line.
You could get your photo taken with Yadi Molina’s Gold Glove and Platinum Glove. But that line was long also, so I just settled for taking a photo of both Gloves.
Next, I walked over to the pep rally sponsored by local TV station KSDK at Joe Buck’s Restaurant at 10th and Clark, which was located behind the restaurant. They gave away harmonicas in memory of Stan Musial. The line for those was very long, so I didn’t get one. There was a band playing here too, and the station also gave away a pair of tickets to the home opener. I got in there just in time to see Mike Bush and Sara Dayley (yes, she’s Ken Dayley’s daughter) interview Lou Brock. I was within 5 feet of him, the closest I’ve ever been.
The largest pep rally was held in Kiener Plaza, which is located between Broadway and 7th Street. There were food vendors, beer and alcohol vendors, and various businesses with giveaways. There was a band playing at this pep rally too. This pep rally was the most crowded of all the pep rallies I attended. The water in the Kiener Plaza fountain was dyed red in honor of the Cardinals’ Opening Day.
KMOX sponsored a pep rally called Kegs & Eggs. What an odd name for a pep rally, you think. But brunch (eggs) and beer (kegs) were served at this rally. This is the only pep rally that had an admission fee. It was held on the parking lot of the Tums factory on South 6th Street. Good thing the Tums factory is next door – you might need some of their products if you eat too much food and drink too much beer.
Here’s a few tips for you, should you decide to go to Opening Day pep rallies next year:
- Get there early. The rally at Busch Stadium started at 11 AM but the other 2 rallies started at 10 AM.
- Wear your walking shoes, especially if you plan on attending all the rallies. There’s some hiking involved.
- Travel light and tight. Bring the bare minimum, such as your cell phone and your wallet. A jacket with pockets, a fanny pack or a cross-body bag are ideal. There are lots of people at these rallies and it’s easier to get through the crowd when you don’t have to worry about carrying a large bag.
- Bring cash. Not a lot, just enough to purchase food and drink. The vendors probably don’t have credit card readers and if they did, using them would hold up the line behind you. If you’re also planning on going to the game, you’ll need cash for the beer vendors if you choose to imbibe.
- If you’re sensitive to loud music, wear earplugs. The volume of the bands at all three locations were very loud.
- Bring a pen to fill out giveaway entries faster.
- If your cell phone doesn’t have a camera, bring your camera.
- If possible, take the MetroLink train or MetroBus. Although the Hyatt offers some free parking meters, downtown parking tickets are expensive. Stadium Garage parking is $20.00 a car. There are other parking lots within walking distance of the stadium, but they’re not cheap either.
- Observe traffic lights and only walk when there is either no traffic or you have a walk light. I can’t tell you how many people I saw today crossing the street in front of cars. I’m really surprised no one got hit.
- Have fun!
The Cards lost 12-4. It sucks to lose on Opening Day. Hopefully, the next 2 games will go better.
Thanks for reading! See you next time!