Schools, museums, courts, government offices and even the city zoo are shut down in Philadelphia today as the city enjoys its first Super Bowl parade after its underdog Eagles upset the five-time champion New England Patriots on Sunday. The parade starts near the team’s stadium and, fittingly, ends its five-mile trek at the art museum steps that Sylvester Stallone climbed in the ‘Rocky’ movies.
People began lining the route before dawn Thursday. Organizers are prepared for as many as 2 million people, but the actual number may be much lower.
Many fans are taking mass transit. New Jersey Transit on Wednesday suspended ticket sales on its Atlantic City Line into Philadelphia. All 50,000 special parade day tickets for the SEPTA regional railroad lines sold out.
Fortunately for fans, the city’s two subways are free all day.
Schools and government offices are closed in the city. The Erco company gave more than 100 employees in New Jersey and Delaware a paid day off so they can celebrate.
The parade caps a glorious week for jubilant fans celebrating an NFL title that had eluded them for nearly 60 years. Led by backup quarterback Nick Foles and second-year coach Doug Pederson, the Eagles beat the Patriots 41-33 in Super Bowl LII on Sunday.
Philadelphia Eagles fan and fashion designer Nancy Volpe Beringer places a small dressmaker’s form with an outfit she says she made and would like to give Eagles’ Nick Foles daughter, Lily, on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Wednesday
The parade has touched off a bit of a beer war.
Bud Light will offer free beer to revelers at two dozen bars along the parade route, thanks to a promise its brewer made to Eagles offensive tackle Lane Johnson before the season.
Not wanting to be upstaged by an out-of-towner, Philadelphia-based Yards Brewing said it will offer fans a free Philly Pale Ale on parade day in the brewery’s taproom.
‘We might not be able to get everyone a beer but we can try,’ the brewer tweeted.
No official estimate was released for the parade after the Phillies won the World Series in 2008, but experts have said that crowd likely didn’t exceed 750,000.
Fans made their way to the parade route and art museum through the overnight and early morning hours, braving frigid wind chills in the low 20s, for a prime viewing spot.
Other fans lined up for mass transit just to get to the parade. The city’s two subways will be free all day, but fans coming in from the Pennsylvania suburbs might have a trickier time getting into the city. The rapid transit system connecting Philadelphia and southern New Jersey also sold parade tickets, but warned having one wouldn’t necessarily guarantee a ride. PATCO suggested an alternative: Walking across the nearly 2-mile-long (3-kilometer-long) Benjamin Franklin Bridge.
Democratic Mayor Jim Kenney asked fans to celebrate with passion and pride after Sunday’s wild postgame celebration was marred by ‘knuckleheads’ who resorted to violence and vandalism.
‘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,’ he said. ‘We are, after all, the city of brotherly love and sisterly affection.’
A Philadelphia Eagles fan chants while waiting for the team to arrive at Philadelphia International Airport a day after defeating the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 52 in Minneapolis, Monday, Feb. 5, 2018. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Philadelphia Eagles stand atop a news van while waiting for the team to deplane Monday, Feb. 5, 2018, at Philadelphia International Airport a day after defeating the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 52. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Philadelphia Eagles Zach Ertz, center, holds up the Vince Lombardi Trophy while displaying it to fans gathered to welcome them in Philadelphia a day after defeating the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 52 in Minneapolis, Monday, Feb. 5, 2018. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie carries the Vince Lombardi Trophy while walking to a fence to show it to fans gathered to welcome them in Philadelphia a day after defeating the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 52, Monday, Feb. 5, 2018. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, left, and head coach Doug Pederson approach a fence where fans gathered to welcome the team Monday, Feb. 5, 2018, at Philadelphia International Airport a day after defeating the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 52. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)