The Kansas City Star suggested that the gathering of an estimated 800,000 fans attending the World Series victory parade earlier today might have been the largest gathering in Kansas City history. For a metro area the size of Kansas City (around 2 million), 800,000 is an amazing turnout!
A gathering of 800,000 is more than:
- the state population of Wyoming, Vermont, Alaska, or North Dakota.
- the number of travelers who passed through Union Station in all of 1945, the peak year of railroad travel in Kansas City.
- ten Arrowhead Stadiums full of fans.
With 40% of the metro area sitting bumper-to-bumper on the roads, searching for a spot to watch the parade, and tending to basic needs (think food, water, and toilets), the city was stretched to its limits. However, the warm, sunny weather and celebratory mood seemed to keep everyone in good spirits.
Some people have been critical of the decision of local school boards to cancel school today, expressing concern that the entire city is putting baseball ahead of education. I disagree. Today’s parade isn’t just about baseball, it’s about our community. Often looked down upon by the “coastals” who hail from California or New York, Kansas City has earned its day in the national spotlight. Yes, the day is the direct result of winning the World Series, but we are more than baseball. We have art, architecture, museums, fine dining, night life, affordable housing, hospitable people, and award-winning schools. We are a cosmopolitan town with everything to offer but an ocean-front view, and today the entire country is watching us celebrate all that is Kansas City!
Here are some of the photos I captured from today…
Click on any image to enlarge
Like drops of water, Royals fans in blue shirts spilled out of Union Station onto Pershing Road and Main Street filling in every available space like rising water. There was a sea of blue surrounding the Union Station fountain, making it look much different than it did a few nights earlier.
The manicured acreage between Union Station and the Liberty Memorial quickly became “flooded” with fans, including these men carrying a banner from 1985 when Kansas City last won the World Series.
While the crowds were generally good-natured (because that’s how we do things in the Midwest) and the police reported only three arrests, a few folks pushed the envelope like this crowd up on the roof of Union Station…
…and these men on the roof of the sky walk between Crown Center and Union Station. In both cases, we watched Kansas City’s finest ask them to exit stage left and continue the festivities from a lower altitude.
Many young parents were tots themselves when the Kansas City Royals won the World Series back in 1985. I heard several personal stories about what sharing this World Series win in 2015 with their children means to them.
Climbing the hill from Union Station to Liberty Memorial, it became harder and harder to see and hear the festivities on the stage below. Thank goodness for binoculars. And also telephoto camera lenses.
This is Kansas City as a sea of blue fans, proud of their Royals, and proud of their town!