'World’s Longest Cleveland Sports Parade' Departed from Utah This Morning, Will Arrive in Cleveland Tuesday

click to enlarge 'World’s Longest Cleveland Sports Parade' Departed from Utah This Morning, Will Arrive in Cleveland Tuesday
CLE is Calling / Facebook
Weston Wride. Remember him? He’s the Cleveland sports fanatic (arguably the only kind of Cleveland sports fan) who celebrated the Cavaliers’ historic championship with a parade in Provo, Utah. His parade, a few blocks total and comprising 19 close friends and family, quickly went viral and was covered by GQ and a number of other media outlets. When Scene last spoke with Wride in August, he was in the planning stages of another, more ambitious parade in honor of the Cavs: a cross-country parade from his current home in Provo to his hometown, Cleveland.

He’s calling it “Cleveland is Calling - World’s Longest Cleveland Sports Parade.”

The itinerary, which you can find on the group’s Facebook page, and spirit remain the same as they were when Wride spoke with Scene in August — visit Clevelanders living elsewhere on a sportsman’s pilgrimage — but there have been some important developments behind the scene.

Unfortunately, Wride’s Kickstarter campaign fell far short of the $16,500 goal, some sponsorship opportunities have fallen through, and he has had to come out of pocket for a lot of expenses—insurance, travel, etc. However, Wride has found local donations in Provo, and sponsorship in Destination Cleveland and help from the Cleveland Indians.

“In addition to providing Cleveland giveaways, we’re reaching out to media in the rally cities to help Weston attract a crowd of both Cleveland and Cavs fans. We see the rallies as a great way to boost Cleveland pride and ultimately help change perceptions about the area,” Jennifer Kramer of Destination Cleveland told Scene.

Destination Cleveland has included “Cleveland is Calling…” in their fall marketing campaign, a “Coming Home”-themed venture into markets across the Great Lakes, Midwest and Toronto. And for a lucky attendee that signs up for their newsletter at one of the rallies can win airfare, lodging and tickets for two to the Cavs’ opener.

“When you wait 52 years for a championship, the victory party lasts all year long,” Kramer said.

Wride contacted the Indians organization, who recently partnered with Destination Cleveland and TBS for pre- and post-game segments during the ACLS, and received official merch to distribute to those Clevelanders Wride expects to meet at the scheduled rallies.

“We’re very supportive of what he’s doing, for his pride of the city and the Cavs,” said Joel Hammond, Assistant Director of Communications for the Cleveland Indians.

For the organization’s contribution, Wride painted a panel of the Believemobile, a donated wine and gold-painted ‘93 Ford F-150 he will be driving across the country, to the World Series-bound Indians.

The final rally of the cross country parade will be held in Tremont’s Lincoln Park on Oct. 25, the day the world champions receive their rings and the World Series begins.

For those looking to follow Wride on the journey, he has hired a crew of four to do social media, photography and videography for the duration of the cross country parade.

Though Wride has not applied for consideration, Scene also reached out to Guinness World Records to see if Wride’s parade was a record setter. A representative of the company told Scene, “[a] parade must be a continuous procession of people and floats (with no gaps), with the people in the parade performing a specific function rather than simply walking the parade route, e.g. performing in a marching band, twirling a baton, or carrying a banner.” Simple enough. Unfortunately, there are no standing records for the shortest, longest or fastest parade. If there were, Wride would certainly be competitive for all three records. Winning seems to be the theme of 2016 in Cleveland.

Regardless, Wride, with his esoteric optimism all Cleveland sports fans have, hopes the Cavaliers will be accepting rings again this time next year.

“If it goes well and we have people on board and love the feel of it, we’ll do it again next year with completely different route.”

Wride and his crew departed this morning, Oct. 21, and will be arriving in Cleveland’s Lincoln park in the afternoon Oct. 25, the day that the stars align in Cleveland and a day that will be remembered for quite some time.

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