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Browns Perfect Season Parade, A Long Time Coming, Set For Saturday

Jay Demagall goes over float planning during a recent steering committee meeting at Forest City Brewery. [Matt Richmond / ideastream]

At a recent parade float steering committee meeting at Forest City Brewery, Jay Demagall and a few friends were planning out there float before Saturday's parade. 

It amounted to, basically, hanging a few pieces of painted plywood on the sides of the brewery's white van.

“So that’s the plan," said Demagall. "Milton’s got the candles made. I was going to dress up as Santa Claus and drive. Ron, as part of your hazing, you’re going to be the brownie elf."

The idea for the parade got started on Twitter a year ago, by Columbus-area Browns Fan Chris McNeil, when the Browns looked to be on the way to an 0-16 season.

It was shelved when the team won their secon-to-last game. But then the unimaginable happened – it got worse.

Jay Demagall sees the parade as a warning shot across the bow of ownership for fielding a lousy team year after year.

“Somebody is still making money off of it and they’re making money off of us, a lot of money," said Demagall. "The players, I know, they’re doing their best with whatever they can do. But it’s just not fair to the city.”

The plan is to make one circle couterclockwise around First Energy Stadium. 

Temperatures tomorrow will hover around 4 degrees. And even without the bitter cold, the idea is unpopular with many.

“I will not be attending a Perfect Season Parade," said Clevelander Lionel Smith, who isn't buying the parade organizers’ arguments that it will affect billionaire owner Jimmy Haslam.

“He's already embarrassed," said Smith. "There's not too many 0-fer teams ever in the league. He's the laughingstock in the league. We don’t need to parade this.” 

Organizer Chris McNeil says, since the idea started a year then was shelved, just about everyone in Cleveland has developed strong feelings about whether it's a good idea.

“Around Thanksgiving I remember saying there are three things that you don't want to bring up at Thanksgiving dinner -- politics, religion and the Browns Perfect Season Parade," said McNeil.

It’s expected that thousands will attend, though that's just based on Facebook RSVP's. McNeil says around 100 people have registered to participate in the parade - whether it's with a float or just a guy carrying a sign.

Only two years ago, about a million Cleveland Cavaliers fans flooded downtown streets for the city’s first championship parade in more than a half century.

Tomorrow will mark something very different.

Matthew Richmond is a reporter/producer focused on criminal justice issues at Ideastream Public Media.