Anywhere from 300,000 to 500,000 people attended the downtown parade that took over the streets of Kansas City, Missouri for the better part of a day Tuesday to celebrate the Kansas City Royals World Series Championship after the team’s victory on Sunday over the New York Mets. Many businesses and most areas schools closed for the day to make for a rare assemblage of a good portion of the metropolitan area’s 2 million residents.
It’s not every day hundreds of thousands of people show up to a party in your backyard. It’s as unthinkable as being able to attend the World Series two years in a row at your neighborhood ballpark. From the sky it looked like a flood of bright blue liquid flowing along and filling in gaps along the city streets. Fans, young and old, all dressed in Royal blue, and cars parked anywhere a free space could be found. From afar it looked like a Smurf apocalypse overtaking the south half of the city’s downtown neighborhoods.
The parade began just after noon at the Sprint Center and then moved down Grand Boulevard to Pershing Road at Crown Center. It then crossed over to Union Station in front of the Liberty Memorial where a few hundred thousand of the blue-clad onlookers stood together with little room to move and no sight from afar of the lush green grass that usually marks the memorial’s front lawn.
The parade was followed by a rally on the south side of Union Station, held by the team, manager, and staff, to thank their fans.
At the beginning of the day and the end of the day, commutes normally only 20 minutes turned into 2 hours or more. Parade watchers began lining up along the streets as early as 7 a.m. Cell phone service was down for many as thousands tried to place calls with no luck. As the parade start time grew closer, some fans stuck in gridlocked traffic began parking their cars on the sides of the interstate highways that stretch through the downtown area, so they could make the long walk through town to arrive in time. Watchers at Crown Center packed in more than 50 people deep from the streetside.
City officials reported it was the largest gathering in the history of the city, including attendance thirty years ago at the 1985 parade for the Royals for their first World Series championship win.