For several hours Thursday, Philadelphia was transformed into a citywide party filled with love, unity and an outpouring of support for the team that made it all possible.
The Philadelphia Eagles, fresh from their stunning Super Bowl victory, paraded through the City of Brotherly Love during a five-mile spectacle that drew an untold number of people from all over the region.
Universities, schools, government offices, museums, city courts and even the Philadelphia Zoo shut down in preparation for the city's first-ever Super Bowl parade.
The parade began at 11 a.m. near Lincoln Financial Field and ended its journey at the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art that Rocky Balboa climbed. It was a fitting end for a team that championed itself as the underdog who defied the odds just like the famous, fictional southpaw.
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Organizers prepared for as many as two million people to gather around the parade route, though the city hasn't said just how many people attended the festivities.
Hundreds of fans braved freezing temperatures and began swarming viewing areas in Eakins Oval around 4 a.m. — nine hours before the parade was set to pass by there. By 7 a.m., thousands of fans had posted up at spots along Broad Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
In the wake of violence and vandalism following the Eagles Super Bowl win Sunday night and early Monday morning, Mayor Jim Kenney asked fans to responsibly celebrate with passion and pride.
“Now remember — act responsibly, don’t ruin this for the fans who have waited decades for what will be a historic day as the Eagles finally parade up Broad Street," Kenney said at a press conference Wednesday. "We are after all the City of Brotherly Love and sisterly affection.”
Several businesses capitalized on the massive event. Bud Light offered free beer at two dozen bars along the parade route after making a pact with Eagles offensive tackle Lane Johnson to bring free beer to Philly if the Birds won the Super Bowl.
Not to be outdone, Philly-based Yards Brewing Co. also offered a free Philly Pale Ale to fans who wandered off the parade route and over to their new tasting room on Spring Garden Street.
Getting to and from the parade proved tricky. After going on sale at 5 a.m. Wednesday, all 50,000 special one-day SEPTA passes for Thursday's parade were sold out less than 12 hours later. PATCO's single-day tickets for Thursday also sold out Wednesday.
Free subway rides ushered people throughout the day and SEPTA limiting its service to focus on getting passengers to and from the parade. Regional Rail also only offered trains going in one direction and imited the number of open stations. PATCO also offered special services for New Jersey passengers.
Now that the parade has ended, the NBC10 app will provide updates throughout the afternoon and evening to help get you home safely. It's free and you can download it here.
The @Eagles of Philadelphia have emerged victorious! Join us with @LaneJohnson65 and your 21+ friends at taverns along the parade route to raise one of the Kingdom’s favorite light lagers. #PhillyPhilly 🍻 #DillyDilly pic.twitter.com/30ptis8xIC— Bud Light (@budlight) February 5, 2018
Refresh this page for updates throughout the evening.