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Parade ends with dwindling crowd

The inaugural parade has ended. In the last half-hour, the Boy Scouts of America, the United States Merchant Academy Band and the Colorado Freedom Riders whizzed by, marching at double time, it seemed.

After starting the parade at 3:45 p.m. – almost two hours later than four years ago — most of the celebration took place in the dark.

Parents of band members who traveled across the country clapped loudly as their kids marched by. But by 6 p.m., the crowd dwindled to just a couple hundred near the viewing stands at Freedom Plaza as wind picked up and a cold, damp January night set in on Washington.

When the final band, from the Virginia Military Institute, passed, the loudest applause in a half-hour erupted, as many of those remaining were allowed to cross the parade route, saving some a walk of two miles or more to other Metro stations.

President Trump and his family retired from the viewing stand into the White House. Meanwhile, D.C. officials were gearing up for an evening of inauguration balls, hoping to keep more protests from erupting across the city.

Live coverage of Trump’s inauguration
The U.S. Capitol frames the backdrop over the stage during a rehearsal of President-elect Donald Trump’s swearing-in ceremony this week in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Donald Trump will be sworn in Friday during an inauguration that’s expected to draw between 700,000 and 900,000 people. Security officials said there are 63 demonstration groups, pro and con, also expected Friday. Follow our liveblog for updates through this afternoon’s inaugural parade.