Gradkowski to be grand marshal for Blade Holiday Parade Nov. 17

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    The 30th Annual Blade Holiday Parade on November 11, 2017.

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  • Former University of Toledo and NFL football player Bruce Gradkowski will be the grand marshal for this year’s Blade Holiday Parade, scheduled for Nov. 17 in downtown Toledo.

    More than 75 units — including marching bands, dance teams, floats, and giant balloons — are scheduled to participate in the parade, which will step off at 10 a.m. on Summit Street at Jefferson Avenue. Santa Claus will make his regular appearance and, after the parade, hear boys’ and girls’ wishes at the Imagination Station science museum on Summit.

    The parade will follow its usual route north on Summit from Jefferson to Jackson Street, west on Jackson to Huron Street, south on Huron to Washington Street, and east on Washington to its conclusion at Summit. Downtown streets in a zone bounded by Lafayette, Erie, and Orange streets will be closed to traffic after 8 a.m.

    The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Relay, 5-kilometer road race, and Family Fun Run will precede the parade, with the first two events starting at 8:30 a.m. and the Family Fun Run at 9:15 a.m. Those events will register and start from The Blade’s parking lot along Jackson between Superior and Huron streets. Advance registration is available at, while on-site registration will start at 7:30 a.m.

    Mr. Gradkowski set numerous statistical records while playing quarterback for the University of Toledo Rockets, then had an 11-season career, mainly as a backup, with five National Football League teams: the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cleveland Browns, Oakland Raiders, Cincinnati Bengals, and Pittsburgh Steelers.

    He is the color analyst on UT football broadcasts and co-hosts a weekly show on SiriusXM’s NFL Radio. He also owns a local restaurant and recently received a 20 Under 40 Leadership Recognition Award from Leadership Toledo.

    Along with The Blade and two presenting sponsors, Monroe Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram Superstore and Distinguished Clown Corps, the parade is sponsored by Walt Churchill’s Market, WTVG-TV Channel 13, WRVF-FM radio 101.5, and Buckeye Broadband.

    The parade will be televised on Buckeye Broadband’s BCAN (Channels 109 and 609) at 8 p.m. Nov. 18 and on BCSN2 (also Channels 109 and 609) at 8 a.m. Nov. 19. It also will be shown on the Community Channel (Channel 69) at noon and 3:30 p.m.on Thanksgiving, at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 23, and at noon Nov. 24.