It's Parade Day in KC: 30 years in the making!
The hard part is over. Now it's time for Kansas City to celebrate.
OK, let's be honest, Kansas City probably hasn't stopped celebrating since late Sunday night when the Royals clinched their first World Series title in 30 years by defeating the Mets, 7-2, in Game 5. But this afternoon, those celebrations will reach their pinnacle when downtown Kansas City hosts its first championship parade since 1985.
"Oh, that is going to be so sweet," said left fielder Alex Gordon, the longest-tenured player on the Royals. "I know what Kansas City has been through. Most of these guys weren't even born when we won it last. At least I was."
The parade is scheduled to begin at noon CT and will be streamed live on MLB.com and MLB Network.
The 2.3-mile route begins on Grand Boulevard between the Spirit Center and the Power & Light district and will end in front of Union Station after circling through downtown's business district. Ilus Davis Park and Washington Square Park are the recommended viewing spots for fans (although anywhere along the route will be accessible).
Just how much is the city ready to celebrate? Well, schools in Kansas City's surrounding counties have already canceled classes because of the event. An Independence school district statement read:
"With the parade happening in the middle of the day, we know this could be a once-in-a-lifetime moment for our staff, students, families and community," according to a statement from the Independence School District. "With concerns citywide about available staffing and substitutes, we ultimately have made the decision to call off school tomorrow. This will mean we will extend the school year by one day in order to meet state requirements."
Metropolitan Community College also canceled its classes today, and Kansas City Municipal Court canceled dockets. (Schools in the Kansas City School District, however, will be open as usual. Those schools have informed teachers that they must report except for emergencies, because the parade has dwindled the pool of available substitute teachers.)
Once the parade arrives at Union Station, the victory rally will begin. (This is planned for around 2 p.m.) Fans can take part in festivities from the north lawn of the National WWI Museum and Memorial, or from the south parking lot in Union Station or Pershing Road.
The parade will force six street closures in downtown Kansas City -- including stretches of road on Grand Boulevard, Oak Street, Truman Road, Pershing Road, Main Street and Kessler Road.
According to the Kansas City Star, officials in Kansas City are preparing for more than 200,000 people to attend. There will be barricades along the curbs, offering a signifiant distinction from the Royals' most recent parade in 1985, when fans were so close, they could touch the cars of players.
The Missouri Southern State University drum line will provide entertainment along the route, and players will ride in the backs of trucks.
"I don't know how we could be any happier," Mayor Sly James told the Kansas City Star. "I've said it before, and I'll say it again: If you can't love Kansas City today, you never will."
For those interested in taking public transit to the event, free Parade Express service will be available from several locations. For more information, visit ridekc.org/news/parade. Parking will be limited, but will be available in a few pay lots and garages close to the parade.
As for this afternoon's forecast? It's slated to be 71 degrees and sunny when the rally begins.
Looks like 2015 is just simply the Royals' year.