|Steelers' fans gather downtown to celebrate title|
|Written by Admin|
|Tuesday, 03 February 2009 06:51|
Thousands of Pittsburgh Steelers fans lined downtown streets Tuesday cheering and twirling Terrible Towels in preparation for a noon parade to celebrate the Pittsburgh Steelers' victory over the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII, the sixth for the storied franchise.
Police and city officials were preparing for as many as 250,000 fans, an estimate based on the number of fans at the 2006 parade celebrating the team's victory in Super Bowl XL. Many fans showed up hours before Tuesday's parade, including a handful of hardy souls who were spotted along the route before dawn.
'' - to explain his absence from Buffalo Elementary School in the suburb of Sarver.
``I was here for the last parade and this is his first parade,'' the bearded Shawn Sedonis said, while decked out in a black-and-gold jester hat, game jersey and other team colored items. ``The last time they expected 40,000 people and there were 40,000 people here by 10 o'clock. So we came early.''
The parade was planned along Grant Street and Boulevard of the Allies, two of the widest streets downtown, instead of a narrower route used for most city parades. About 150 police were on hand to control the crowd and barricades were set up in the streets because the sidewalks were not wide enough to accommodate the overflow.
A huge black and gold banner hung in front of the City-County building, reading ``Welcome to Steelers Country Super Bowl XLIII Champions.'' The City County voted to symbolically change this city's name to Sixburgh for the day.
Down the street in front of the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, a dinosaur statue held a Super Bowl trophy in one hand and red feathers protruding from its mouth, what was left from its ``cardinal snacks.''
Die-hard fans like 42-year-old Becky Kimball drove up from Baltimore just to help celebrate the big win.
d by daughters Karlie, 12, and Elizabeth, 9.
Teresa Nestor, 47, came downtown after getting only three hours of sleep. She had been in Tampa for the Super Bowl, then drove home and arrived at her house in Uniontown at 3 a.m. Tuesday. After a quick rest, she made the 50-mile drive north to Pittsburgh for a spot near the reviewing stand at the end of the parade route.
``This takes precedence over everything that's ever happened in my life, this win,'' Nestor said.
Erin DelGreco, 34, of Hopewell Township, and her friend, Chad McGown, 31, of Monaca, left their twin suburbs about 20 miles northwest of the city about 6 a.m. and claimed spots along the parade route about 7 a.m.
``Where else in the world does this kind of stuff happen?'' DelGreco said about 9:30 a.m. ``Look at all the people already hear and we've still got 2 1/2 to 3 hours to go.''
``It's history in the making,'' McGown said.
Associated Press Writer Joe Mandak contributed to this report.