Michael Bidwill has been chosen as the grand marshal of this year’s Desert Financial Fiesta Bowl parade.
The Cardinals’ president said he was “blown away” when the invitation was extended a few weeks ago. The announcement was made public on Thursday morning from the Ziegler Fiesta Bowl Museum in Scottsdale.
“It’s an amazing honor,” Bidwill said. “They only pick one person out of everybody here in the state, and to be asked to do this is a tremendous honor.”
The parade will be held on Saturday, Dec. 29 at 10 a.m. in Central Phoenix. The Playstation Fiesta Bowl, one of college football’s best bowl games, will take place on New Year’s Day.
Bidwill will join a notable list of grand marshals, which includes Diamondbacks pitcher Randy Johnson, Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner and Suns/Diamondbacks owner Jerry Colangelo. Last year, Coyotes forward Shane Doan served in the prestigious role.
Executive director Mike Nealy said Bidwill embodies the qualities the Fiesta Bowl wants to highlight.
“He lives the core values, his organization lives the core values,” Nealy said. “They give back to the community. He gives back to the community. And I think he does a lot more than (realized). He’s not one of those guys that goes out there and looks for the spotlight and says, ‘Look what I’m doing,’ but I know he does it. I’ve known him for years, and he does a lot more than any of us are aware of. He’s the type of person that fits in well with the type of person we want to honor as our grand marshal.”
Bidwill is using the platform to encourage all Arizona citizens to be engaged in the community.
“It’s nothing specific,” Bidwill said. “What do people want to get involved in? Their churches, their schools, their neighborhoods, their faith-based organizations, their other organizations that need help and need volunteers. I would say get involved. Get involved in civics as well. This is a democracy where people can get involved and speak up. There are a lot of things in the world and here in the state where we can get better. So I’d encourage people to roll up their sleeves and get involved. They can make a difference, and showing up is the first step.”
It is Bidwill’s second time being a parade’s grand marshal. He previously did so at Phoenix’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade in 2016.
“I wore my kilt a few years ago in the Irish parade, but I won’t be wearing that this year,” Bidwill said. “Someone did suggest I borrow Shane Doan’s horse and ride down Central with Shane Doan’s horse. I’m not a horse guy, so that might not be a good idea. I might get thrown off. But I’ll talk to the Fiesta Bowl about what other unique ideas we can have. I’m sure we’ll have Big Red, our mascot, and maybe our cheerleaders involved as well. It should be a lot of fun.”