Louisville, Ky. (WAVE) – Beyond the exhilarating tackles and touchdowns, the Juice Bowl, a Thanksgiving tradition with roots spanning seven decades, has become a cherished community celebration. This year, the hallowed grounds of Shawnee Park will host six teams, with hundreds of enthusiastic spectators expected to cheer them on. What adds a new layer of excitement to the festivities is the debut of a vibrant parade.
District 5 Metro Councilwoman Donna Purvis expressed her anticipation for the historic event, stating, “I hope we see plenty of people. I am so excited about this. I mean, the first-ever parade. They used to have a motorcade, but they never really had a parade.”
Scheduled to commence at 9 a.m., the parade will traverse Southwestern Parkway before culminating at Shawnee Park. The kickoff for the first of three games is set for 10:30 a.m.
The enduring popularity of the Juice Bowl is a testament to the strong sense of community fostered by the surrounding neighborhoods. What initially began as a casual holiday pickup game among friends has transformed into a beloved family reunion for the entire community.
Juice Bowl board member Robert Martin highlighted the event’s positive impact, stating, “I say the fellowship. The positivity out of it. The family reunion, guys you haven’t seen in forever. People go their separate ways through the year but, that one time, Thanksgiving, everybody comes together. And it’s just fun. It’s fun family love.”
Waddell Elliott, another board member, reminisced about playing in the Juice Bowl during the 1980s. Today, he and Martin are dedicated to preserving the memories and legacy of this tradition. They acknowledge that the current players on the field may well be the ones carrying on the Juice Bowl legacy decades from now.
“And one day I’m going to be gone, Robert’s going to be gone,” Elliott reflected. “They (today’s players) are going to be down here putting this thing on, carrying on the tradition. So, we just thank God, and we do what we can do to keep it rolling.”
As the Juice Bowl 2023 unfolds with its unprecedented parade, it not only marks a continuation of cherished traditions but also sets the stage for a new chapter in the community’s history. The players on the field today are not just participants; they are stewards of a legacy that transcends generations.