A throng of St. Louis Blues fans descended on downtown Saturday to celebrate the 2019 Stanley Cup Championship — the first in franchise history.
The parade began at noon and traveled east down Market Street from 18th Street to Broadway, to be followed by a rally on the Arch grounds.
No official crowd estimates have been given, but thousands began lining up as four or more hours before the parade began. Conservative estimates would put the crowd at tens of thousands of people — a crowd that some on Twitter were calling the biggest party in St. Louis’ history. Predictions were that there would be up to half a million people attending.
Ryan Korte of Belleville told The Associated Press he wasn’t sure he’d ever get to see the Blues win the cup. Not any more.
“This is bigger than the World Series,” Korte said.
The Stanley Cup passes by Union Station on Market Street, pulled on a wagon by the Budweiser Clydesdales, marking the end of the parade.
A rally will continue into the afternoon at the Arch grounds.
The parade has begun. Vehicles carrying Blues present and former players head east down Market Street as Thousands cheer. Thousands more are awaiting for a rally at the Arch grounds.
Huge crowds have now gathered for the parade and on the Arch grounds.
People are bypassing the parade and filling up the Arch grounds. As more people line up along the parade route on Market Street, the sun is beginning to peak through the clouds.
The parade route is filling up, even as light rain continues.
Parade goers had high praise across Twitter and on the ground for the job MetroLink staff did in getting everyone in and off the trains and to the parade route. MetroLink tweeted: “Thanks for your patience!”
Crowds began showing up hours earlier. Parade organizers erected tents and canopies along Market for people to stand under. Many parade goers showed up in rain suits, parkas and toting umbrellas.
Estimates for the crowd have been up to half-a-million people descending upon downtown St. Louis for the celebration, although the rain may cut into that number.
However, the National Weather Service said that after a downpour that was expected about an hour before the parade, there was no rain behind the front for several hours.
The St. Louis Blues defeated the Boston Bruins in seven games in the Stanley Cup Finals on Wednesday night, capping off the series with a 4-1 victory in Boston. For long-suffering Blues fans, this is the first championship in the franchise’s 52-year history.
Return to bnd.com later today for videos and photos from the parade.