What to Know
- The celebration will stretch out for 5 hours and extend from South Philadelphia to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
- The event has two parts: The parade and a rally at the Art Museum. Organizers promise several surprises.
- SEPTA and PATCO are making major changes to schedules, will close stations, and provide free subway rides in Philly on Thursday.
The City of Philadelphia will honor the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles with a five mile-long parade that will be capped off with a huge celebration outside the iconic Philadelphia Museum of Art on Thursday.
Mayor Jim Kenney, Eagles president Don Smolenski, and several city leaders on Tuesday morning revealed new details about the event that logistically rivals major events like Pope Francis' visit and the annual Welcome America! July 4th Concert.
The parade, which could draw 1 million or more fans, will start at 10:45 a.m. at Lincoln Financial Field in South Philadelphia. A celebration at Eakins Oval on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway will start around 1 p.m. The entire event will end around 3 p.m.
"The parade is a chance for us to say thank you to Philadelphia for everything," Smolenski said.
Here's the full route:
- After the Eagles leave the Linc, they will officially kick off the parade at Broad Street and Pattison Avenue in South Philadelphia,
- The caravan will travel north on South Broad Street toward City Hall.
- Then, it'll make a left at South Penn Square, traveling along the west side of City Hall (which is typically against traffic.)
- Then, it'll make a left on JFK Boulevard, travel by LOVE Park and turn onto 16th Street
- Next, the parade will travel northwest along the Parkway toward the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
- The parade will end at the Art Museum where a rally will take place.
Parade organizers said the motorcade, which will feature open-air vehicles, will travel in the center of the roadway except when there is a median. Barricades will help with crowd control. The event will not be ticketed.
SEPTA will provide free rides along the Broad Street Subway and Market-Frankford El all day on Thursday, SEPTA board chairman Pasquale Deon said. Regional rail customers will have to purchase passes.
Independence Blue Cross is covering the cost of the free transit, Deon said.
SEPTA expects to carry 30,000 passengers an hour on the Broad Street subway during the event. In an effort to move fans across the city more quickly, only certain stations along the Broad Street and Market-Frankford lines will be open. Among the notable closures are the 11th Street, 15th Street, and City Hall stations.
The Walnut-Locust station may have rolling closures if passengers are unable to get up to the street because of sidewalk gridlock.
On the Broad Street line the following stations will be open: AT&T; Snyder; Ellsworth-Federal; Walnut-Locust; Race-Vine; Girard; Cecil B. Moore/Temple U.; North Philadelphia; Erie; Wyoming; Olney; and the Fern Rock Transportation Center.
On the Market-Frankford line the following stations will be open: 69th Street Transportation Center; 60th St.; 52nd St.; 46th St.; 40th St.; 30th St.; 13th St.; 8th St.; 2nd St.; Girard; Huntingdon; Alleghney; Erie-Torresdale; Arrot Transportation Center; and Frankford Transportation Center.
Regional Rail lines will only operate in-bound trains on Thursday morning. In the afternoon, only outbound trains will run. A limited number of stations will be open as well.
Not everyone will be able to take the Regional Rail lines, however. You will not be able to buy fares on Regional Rail trains. Passengers who have Trailpasses and pre-purchased Senior and Reduced Fares can ride. SEPTA is also selling 50,000 one-day passes — called a Special Independence Day Pass. The $10 quickly sold out at SEPTA ticket counters at suburban stations Wednesday morning.
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
Even with all the changes, SEPTA general manager Jeff Knueppel said the transit agency only has the capacity to serve one in four parade attendees.
"Be prepared for overcrowding," he said.
PATCO will also streamline service by closing stations in New Jersey and Philadelphia. Express Philadelphia service will operate between Lindenwold, Woodcrest, Ferry Avenue, and Broadway and the 9th/10th and Locust station. That service will last through 1:22 p.m. Thursday. At 1:30 p.m. trains will flip to eastbound service only.
Event producer Fred Stein, of The Creative Group, Inc., said there would be a number of surprises along the parade route. He declined to provide details about what would happen in the Art Museum celebration only saying "it will be dramatic, it will be wonderful, it will be fantastic."
A sound system and 14 jumbo television screens will be set up along the Parkway, Stein said, so that everyone who attends can see what's going on at the stage.
Forty food trucks will line the Parkway and 850 port-a-potties are being placed along the entire route. Streets along and near the route will close at 10 a.m. Thursday. Most should re-open by 6 p.m. Visitors are urged to use mass transit.
Officials have not speculated on the number of people who may attend the celebration, but past championship parades have drawn 1 to 2 million spectators. The Benjamin Franklin Parkway has a capacity to fit 3 million people.
The Flyers have long claimed more than 2 million fans went wild down Broad each year for the 1974 and 1975 Stanley Cup winning teams. Sixers fans mobbed the streets for Dr. J and the 1983 NBA champion 76ers. In 2008, an estimated 1 million Phillies fans packed downtown sidewalks celebrating their World Series win.
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross said uniform and plainclothes officers will patrol the crowds to prevent disturbances. Bicycle and mounted police as well as tactical air support will also be seen during the event.
The department's Homeland Security Unit is visiting bars along and near the parade route leading up to Thursday asking that they serve customers drinks in plastic cups.
The city's Office of Emergency Management plans to send updates via text message to residents who sign up by texting ReadyEagles to 888777.
Thursday will be cold and breezy, so make sure you bundle up if you're heading to the parade, NBC10 First Alert Weather meteorologist Bill Henley said. Lingering clouds will give way to partly sunny skies by the time the parade starts at 11 a.m. Temperatures will climb into the low 30s, but the wind will make it feel like it’s in the 20s through the afternoon.
And while Bud Light is keeping its promise to buy beer for Eagles fans, Kenney said he doesn't expect the crowd to be full of rowdy, drunken fans. Still, he asked fans not to come armed with alcohol.
"I would tell people do not bring backpacks of beer with you because they'll be taken from you," Kenney said.