Still glowing five days after winning the Stanley Cup, the Washington Capitals and their fans celebrated the franchise’s first NHL championship with a parade down Constitution Avenue on Tuesday, leading to a raucous, beer-soaked rally on the Mall. The festivities attracted tens of thousands of fans, who poured into the city to celebrate Washington’s first major professional sports title in 26 years. And the rally ended as so many Capitals parties have ended over the past few days: with a chorus of “We Are The Champions” and some profanity-filled screams.
“WE’RE STANLEY CUP CHAMPIONS!” captain Alex Ovechkin roared at the end of the rally, followed by a series of guttural screams.
Moments earlier, team owner Ted Leonsis had offered his own rowdy speech to the crowd, telling the masses in front of him that the hockey franchise “put the unity in the community. We all agree on one thing: We have the greatest fans in the world, and now we have the greatest hockey team in the world.”
“Now we have something that united us: a Stanley Cup championship,” Leonsis said.
Coach Barry Trotz, whose future in Washington seemed uncertain until the team’s Stanley Cup run, looked around at the monuments and paraphrased the Rev. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. “We had a dream,” Trotz said. “And we did it.”
It was Ovechkin, though, who captured the true flavor of Washington’s half-crazed celebration this week.
“You thought it was gonna be crazy, but it’s basically nuts,” Ovechkin said to the delirious crowd. “You guys [are] killing it.”
The rally, which turned into a lovefest, capped hours of celebrating by fans, some of whom had congregated by the parade’s stage before 4 a.m. Metro trains and downtown streets were clogged with fans clad in red jerseys and T-shirts, who brought posters and banners, costumes and replica Stanley Cups made out of beer cans or kitchen implements.
“I’m not a huge hockey fan, but I’m a Washington, D.C., fan,” said Doug Damron, conspicuous in a business suit amid the jubilant sea of red. “And I love our sports teams. And you have to be part of this. It’s historical.”
A line of 47 vehicles — a combination of fire engines, convertibles and buses wrapped in “All Ours” logos featuring the Stanley Cup — assembled to move past the Lincoln Memorial just after 11 a.m., before heading east on Constitution. The buses were loaded with longtime season ticket holders, Capitals staffers, elected officials and, of course, the players and coaches, while the convertibles carried the team’s broadcasters and other notable figures. The final vehicle included Ovechkin, veteran defenseman Brooks Orpik, Leonsis and the Stanley Cup.
Though the official route began six blocks away, hundreds of fans were at the intersection of 23rd and Constitution to watch the start, while a firetruck leading the procession honked that familiar “Let’s Go Caps!” refrain. The parade followed Constitution to Seventh Street NW, then made a right turn in advance of a rally at the Mall, where the largest number of fans congregated.
The onstage rally began shortly after 1 p.m., in front of a sea of red. Players took the stage around 1:30, to the music of Chuck Brown’s “Bustin’ Loose.” As they were introduced individually, many of them did what they’ve done almost continually since winning the Cup on Thursday: They guzzled beer, this time to the cheers of a massive crowd. T.J. Oshie’s performance was especially notable, as he hoisted his shirt over his face and guzzled beer through it, a move he also showed off during Saturday’s Nats game.
The last to be introduced was Ovechkin, who hoisted the Cup above his head to euphoric cheers.
Nicklas Backstrom joked that it’s been “a rough couple of days” for the team, before telling the crowd, “We’re absolutely nothing without you guys. Finally, we started playing hockey like we can party.”
As the parade got underway hours earlier, Queen’s “We Are The Champions” — a team anthem since Thursday night — blared from the speakers on the stage at the Mall. A few minutes later, the video boards to the left and the right of the stage began showing live footage from the parade route. Some of the vehicles were draped in banners reading “Ovechkin for President.”
Haley Skarupa, a local member of gold medal-winning U.S. women’s hockey team, was covering the parade for NBC Sports Washington. She signed autographs and posed for photos with her gold medal, even letting one small girl wear it around her neck.
“I’ve never seen one before,” one fan said.
“Stanley Cups and gold medals!” another fan shouted. “That’s what Washington does!”
Fans began arriving before dawn for the festivities. Justin Bryam, a 23-year-old from Frederick, Md., was one of the first on the scene. He figured he had suffered through a lifetime of heartbreak rooting for Washington’s pro sports teams, so he wanted Tuesday to be meticulously planned and memorable. He drove from Maryland into the city Monday night, crashed with a family member, was in an Uber by 4:45 a.m. and arrived at the mall around 5. About 20 Capitals fans were already there.
“It was still dark. Cold and dark,” he said shortly after 8, looking out at a crowd that had grown by thousands behind him. “To see this city come together and embrace hockey is just unbelievable to watch.”
“I’ve always believed nothing brings a city closer together than a winning sports team,” Leonsis said Thursday as the team celebrated on the ice in Las Vegas, a message he repeated as parade day approached. The scenes Tuesday morning seemed to bear out his words; cars driving down Constitution Avenue honked to the beat of the team’s “Let’s Go Caps” chant, an ice resurfacer drove down a normally gridlocked city street, light posts were adorned with new banners paying tribute to the Capitals, and social media sites were flooded with images of massive crowds.
“Now we can celebrate all together and remember this moment for all our lives,” Ovechkin wrote on Instagram on Monday afternoon. “Time to party Caps fans!!!!” By Tuesday morning, he had swapped his skates for dancing shoes as the players congregated for a team photo at Capital One Arena.
The weather was perfect for a parade, featuring partly to mostly sunny skies, with highs in the 70s — ideal conditions for a party decades in the making.
Glenda Kamman, 60, stood on the Mall with her son, Jason LeVick, 35, hours before the parade. Both wore red Caps jerseys — Braden Holtby for Kamman, T.J. Oshie for LeVick — and Kamman had red dye in her hair. “I can’t grow a beard so I figured, you know, do something radical,” she explained.
The pair had watched the Caps win the Cup together at Kamman’s home “literally on the edge of our seats,” as LeVick put it. “Then we just kind of yelled and hugged each other,” Kamman said. “We’ve been waiting for this.”
Mother and son could not afford game tickets, she said, but could do this. “It’s amazing,” Kamman said. “It’s just amazing. It’s breathtaking.”
The crowd appeared peaceful, and the demonstration almost entirely joyous. As of about 5 p.m., there were no parade-related arrests reported by D.C. police, by the U.S. Park Police or by Metro Transit Police.
A D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department spokesman said about 180 patients were treated either inside or outside medical tents during the parade and rally. The most common issues were intoxication, dehydration or fatigue. About a dozen patients were transported off-site, but all were in stable condition by the late afternoon.
Peter Jamieson, Joe Heim and Adam Kilgore also contributed to this report.
The captain speaks
Braden Holtby is clearly one of the most beloved stars on this team, but when he stepped to the microphone, he seemed to know what the thousands of assembled fans were waiting for.
“I’m gonna keep this real short,” he said, “because frankly, I want to get to Ovi’s speech.”
Because, just as he has been for most of his career — and especially these last few days — Ovechkin was the afternoon’s featured entertainer. When he was finally called up to the podium, he did not disappoint.
“What’s up, babes?” he said, sending his teammates and many in the audience in front of him into peals of laughter. “My teammates love it — babes, you know, like, Holts threw me under the bus, under the train actually.”
Ovechkin had enjoyed himself throughout the parade, taking every opportunity to lift the Cup above his head and show it off to the throngs gathered along the parade route. But on stage, he still seemed taken aback by the sea of red.
“Look at this people who’s here. You know, like you thought it was gonna be crazy but it’s basically nuts,” he said. “You guys killing it.”
The 32-year Russian forward thanked fans and family members. He thanked Leonsis and GM Brain McClellan. “And how Osh Babe said: Back to back, right?,” he said, reviving the cheer that Oshie had started minutes earlier.
“And now I have only thing, a favor to do,” Ovechkin said, quieting the crowd. “You know we all sing the one song together. We all want to sing together with you guys.”
With that, his teammates joined him at the front of the stage, and Queen’s “We Are the Champions” — the team’s ever-present soundtrack the past few days — began playing. A red-clad chorus numbering in the tens of thousands sang along, enraptured by the shiny Cup before them
When the song died down and Ovechkin was finished playing band leader, he turned to the microphone. “One last thing,” he said, reminding the crowd of something he famously said on the first day of training camp way back in September.
“We’re not gonna be [expletive] suck this year,” he shouted. “We’re Stanley Cup champions! Yeahhhh!” — Rick Maese
T.J. Oshie already provided the GIF-friendly highlight that bounced around social media when he chugged a beer through his jersey on the stage during the Caps’ post-parade rally. He managed to excite the crowd on-hand even more when he was called up to the podium to share a few words.
“Check check,” he said, resting his beer next to the microphone. “Sorry about my voice. We’ve been partying in the streets for a couple of days. Tell you what, going through these streets, seeing how many people are out here, how many people came out to support us, how many people support us since the beginning when apparently we weren’t supposed to be very good this year.
“We love you,” Oshie said, “and there’s been a lot of chants. There’s been, ‘Let’s go Caps.’ There’s been, ‘We want the Cup!’ We heard in the streets, ‘We’ve got the Cup.’ We got a new one for you tonight, today: ‘Back to back!’ Back to back! Back to back!”
He then led the crowd in chanting the words several times. Oshie returned to his seat, before making a quick bee-line back to the podium to retrieve his beer. — Rick Maese
“We brought the Cup home”
“Everyone says that what happens in Vegas is supposed to stay in Vegas,” forward Tom Wilson told the crowd. “But we brought he Cup home.”
“Every time I drive on Constitution for the rest of my life, I’m going to remember this day and how special it was and all because of you guys,” goaltender Braden Holtby said.
“Finally, we start playing hockey like we can party,” said center Nicklas Backstrom, “so that’s a good thing.”
Holtby on the madcap fun
The Capitals have gone to great lengths already to share the Cup with fans — both in impromptu bar outings and in organized events.
“We have a team that just likes to have fun — enjoy the people around us, who’ve supported us through everything,” Holtby told NBC Sports Washington shortly before the parade began. “We’re not scared to be ourselves. It’s just been a lot of fun.”
Holtby, of course, came up big in the playoffs but has also had a starring role in the days following the Game 5 clincher, appearing on NBC’s “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” and also in the fountain at Georgetown’s waterfront.
“There was no hesitation to get in,” Holtby said. “It was rather to judge the depth so we didn’t give ourselves concussions or anything like that. It wasn’t as deep as we thought it was going to be, that’s for sure.” — Rick Maese
Ovi on a stick
Randy Scope, 47, walked through the rally crowd with a massive picture of Ovechkin. He had blown up the image and taped it to a hockey stick to hoist in the air.
Anyway, where’d that pic come from, Randy?
“I scanned it off the cover of The Post,” he said. “Some good copyright infringement. Don’t sue me.”
Scope said he used to live in Detroit, and had attended a Stanley Cup parade there, he said.
“The Championship is so long overdue,” he said. “I know a lot of Caps fans, and I’m a Caps fan now, after all these years. It’s just great to see. I don’t think it’s going to change the city, it’s just nice to see all these people here, coming together, high fiving each other, having fun, just enjoying it and being nice to everybody.” — Sarah Larimer
Waiting for speeches
The first buses turned on 7th Street and headed to the Mall around noon, but for roughly 45 minutes, the stage remained empty. As classic rock blared from the speakers and Capitals highlights interspersed with a few final images of the parade played on the video boards, fans on the Mall waited patiently, trying to stay hydrated.
A roar went up from the crowd when the bus with Ovechkin hoisting the Stanley Cup alongside owner Leonsis and Nicklas Backstrom approached the stage. — Scott Allen
As Alex Ovechkin and the Cup passed Alex Tancrell-Fontaine at Constitution Avenue and 9th Street, she popped the cork on a bottle of champagne while Casey Stathopoulos held up another.
The teammates from the Boston Blades of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League have been “obsessed” with Ovechkin since he broke into the NHL 13 years ago.
Tancrell-Fontaine’s dog is named Ovi. She has a tattoo of the number 8.
The plan was to give Ovechkin one bottle of champagne and spray the other toward his bus. But the Washington captain never came off his bus, so the teammates, accompanied by three others, drank the second bottle themselves. — Jacob Bogage
While waiting to head to the stage for the rally at the end of the parade, several Capitals players, including Madison Bowey, Nathan Walker, Oshie and Alex Chiasson, made pit stops at the port-a-potties set up near the stage. Chiasson forgot to lock the door. When you gotta go, you gotta go, and when you’ve been drinking for five days straight, you gotta go.
Evgeny Kuznetsov, meanwhile, got off his bus carrying a case of Bud Light. — Scott Allen
The Capitals and other parade members threw red and silver beads off their double-decker buses, but that’s not what Hank Hebel, 29, was interested in.
He and four friends held signs that read, “SEND BEERS” and “BEERS NOT BEADS.”
Orpik, the veteran defenseman, obliged, tossing four aluminum bottles of Bud Light into the crowd at the intersection with Virginia Avenue.
“It’s like holy water,” Hebel said. “We’re baptized in the Cup.” — Jacob Bogage
A good day for Washington
Die-hard Capitals fans aren’t the only ones who turned out for the parade. Lifelong Washingtonian Tony Lacey, 60, and his 27-year-old son, Cody, arrived around 8 a.m. to grab a prime spot near 9th Street.
“It’s a good day for Washington, D.C.,” said Tony, who wore a Wizards T-shirt and a Capitals cap and considers himself a Redskins fan first and foremost. “I wanted to be here because I wanted to see the Cup. Winning the Stanley Cup could be a once-in-a-lifetime thing.”
Cody, who wore a Capitals Stanley Cup champions shirt, said he didn’t even watch Washington’s title-clinching win, but suggested he might start following the team now.
“I had to be down here for the parade,” he said. — Scott Allen
Silver is traditionally reserved to celebrate a 25th wedding anniversary, but Capitals season-ticket holders Christopher and Christine Ware, who tied the knot on June 12, 1999, made an exception Tuesday.
“It’s our Backstrom-versary,” Christopher said.
“Or our Stanley Cup-versary,” said Christine, who was dressed as Lord Stanley’s trophy, with a silver sequined dress and a chalice fashioned out of a tiara, some foam, tape and a plastic bowl from the Dollar Store.
Could one drink beer out of Christine’s creative cap?
“I wouldn’t advise it because I spray-painted it,” she said, “but we’ll see what the day holds.” — Scott Allen
Amir Nasser, 10, is in his last week of fourth grade at Piney Branch Elementary school in Takoma Park. A huge Caps fan who stayed up late to watch the team clinch the Stanley Cup, Nassar wasn’t going to miss the first championship parade of his lifetime — even if it wasn’t an excused absence from school.
“I’m excited, but I haven’t really seen a sports parade so I don’t know how they do it,” Nasser said, echoing the experience of most Washington fans under the age of 25.
His little sister, Mia, jumped up and down when she found out they were skipping school to celebrate the Caps’ win. And their father, Nasser Mohammed-Emen, was more than happy to bring them down to experience Washington history firsthand.
Though most Washington area schools are still in session this week, the crowd was full of pint-size scofflaws who didn’t mind taking an unexcused day off to cheer for their hockey heroes.
Though area school districts said they were sticking to official absence policies, there was an acknowledgment that the parade was a big deal. DCPS issued a halfhearted statement saying that student absences would not be excused, “but we encourage our staff and students to #RocktheRed throughout the school day.” — Joe Heim
A day off five years in the making
Dakota Barefoot, 26, has been requesting this day off for half a decade.
“I’ve told my boss for the last five years, not to jinx anything, but if the Capitals win the Stanley Cup, I’m going to the parade,” Barefoot said. “I’m so glad I finally get to do it.”
Barefoot and a group of friends drove up from Southern Maryland Tuesday morning. They headed toward the rally stage, where they planned to celebrate with the beer they purchased from the refreshments stand by the National Museum of Natural History. Four beers and a hot dog cost $26. What’s 45 minutes in line when you’ve waited (at least) five years? — Scott Allen
‘It’s very American’
Among the handful of people along Constitution Avenue not decked out in red were Swedish tourists Krister Enstjaerna, 44, his wife, Annelie, 50, and their children, Eliot, 9, and Engla, 12, from Stockholm.
They had learned of the parade only after they arrived in Washington on Friday. They were amazed at the size of the crowd and the exuberance.
“It’s very American,” Annelie said. In Sweden, she said, such sports celebrations are much more low-key.
“This is huge,” she said as she stood at 17th and Constitution Avenue.
She wondered what the team had won to prompt so much hoopla.
The Stanley Cup, she was told. — Michael E. Ruane
“It may never happen again”
Angela Luchini, 25, grabbed a spot in front of the National Museum of Natural History and held a sign that read, “I may live in Pittsburgh, but I’m #ALLCAPS.”
Originally from Alexandria, Luchini moved to the Steel City last July after marrying a huge Penguins fan. Their marriage survived the second round of the playoffs, though Luchini’s husband politely declined an invitation to join her for Tuesday’s celebration.
“He said he was rooting for Vegas [in the Stanley Cup finals], but deep down I think he was happy for me that the Caps won,” Luchini said.
Luchini, who drove down from Pittsburgh last night and stayed with her parents, attending the parade with her brother.
“People in Pittsburgh were asking me, ‘Why are you going?’ I said, ‘It’s an opportunity, and because it may never happen again.’” — Scott Allen
Unleash the Fury
With the parade still half an hour from starting, Capitals PA announcer Wes Johnson took the mic on the stage on the Mall asked fans to participate in a dress rehearsal of the team’s legendary “Unleash the Fury” cry.
“They don’t have to hear us all the way in Vegas for this one,” Johnson said, “but feel free to cut loose.”
Roars from the crowd gathered on Constitution Avenue and chants of “Let’s go Caps!” could be heard from two blocks away. — Scott Allen
The winning call
Devante Smith-Pelly scored Game 5’s tying goal with close to 8 minutes to play. That’s when Capitals radio announcer John Walton started planning the call that will define the District’s first sports championship in 26 years.
Walton had sketched out some thoughts earlier in the day. He wanted to reflect on how long Capitals’ fans had waited for the moment, all the playoff disappointments, how resilient the team had been on its playoff run.
Then Lars Eller iced the puck with less than a second to play.
“I think I said something like, ‘Drop the puck, and release the hounds,’” Walton said Tuesday waiting in the parade’s staging area at 23rd Street and Constitution Avenue.
Close, but not quite.
“And as the puck drops,” he bellowed on the radio, “the words D.C. fans have been waiting to hear since 1974: The Capitals are the 2018 Stanley Cup champions. It’s not a dream. It’s not a desert mirage. It’s Lord Stanley, and he is coming to Washington.” — Jacob Bogage
A musical performance
It was the kind of scene that could only happen in Washington: The D.C. Fire Department Emerald Society Pipes and Drums playing “God Bless America” in front of a monument to Abraham Lincoln before celebrating the city’s championship hockey team in a parade down Constitution Avenue.
It is many of the firefighters’ favorite set, says Pipe Major Jim Mazzara. He plays the first notes of “God Bless America” on the bagpipes, and the rest of the group singing the words. Often times, the crowd joins in.
This pipe and drum society was formed in 2002. It is full of District sports fans. This is their first championship parade. If you put it that way, Mazzara says, it’s easy to get emotional.
So they don’t. They see it as another “deployment” they’ve drilled for all year, events like funerals or formal ceremonies.
“We can’t let it hit us yet,” Mazzara said. “If we let it hit us, we’ll bomb it.”
It’s just that this time, they had special hats made. They say “DCFD” in red block letters, with the Capitals’ eagle logo in the middle. — Jacob Bogage
Vietnam vet says thanks
Leo “Chico” Cabrales, a former Marine and retired Arlington police officer, was stopped and thanked for his service a handful of times as he made his way to his spot near the start of the parade route.
But it was Cabrales who wanted to thank the Capitals, for bringing a championship he never though he would see to Washington.
“It’s been a while, we’ve been suffering fans. I gave up my Redskins season tickets four years ago. Couldn’t do it anymore. But I’m happy as hell now.” — Ava Wallace
Freddie Noel grew up a hockey fan in Toledo, a youth player who rooted for the Colorado Avalanche at that franchise’s peak. As stars like Joe Sakic and Petr Forsberg retired, he lost his fandom and enthusiasm for the sport. And then in 2004, along came a thrilling rookie forward from Russia who played for a team in the nation’s capital.
“Ever since Ovi came in the league,” Noel said, “it was fun to watch hockey again.”
Noel, 34, recalled the origins of his unusual union with Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals from the front row in front of the stage a little past 8:30 a.m. Tuesday. When the Capitals made the Stanley Cup finals, he vowed he’d make it to the parade if they won.
And so Monday, Noel worked first shift at his construction job, napped for two hours, loaded into his car at 9:45 p.m. and drove 7 1/2 hours overnight, by himself, to Washington. He took a brief tour of the city, snapped sightseeing photos of Capital One Arena and around The Mall, found a parking garage and headed to the front.
“I’m running on pure adrenaline right now,” Noel said, wearing his red Ovechkin sweater. “I would do it again in a heartbeat.” — Adam Kilgore and Roman Stubbs
‘A floating holiday’
Decked out in his red and white striped sunglasses, blue Capitals hat, and red beads, Nick Wesol, 39, had taken the day off — “kind of” — gathered his wife, Erin, 39 and kids, Beckett, 8, and Quinn, 6, and come in from Bristol to be part of history.
He works as an engineer, but this was a day not to be missed. “Everybody knew I was coming down here,” he said as she stood in the sun just north of the Washington Monument. “Everybody’s aware. It was one of those floating holidays.”
He said he wanted to be present for several reasons. “My kids have never experienced anything like this before,” he said. “It doesn’t happen but probably once in a generation especially around D.C.”
“What’s nice about it, too, is it brings a lot of people together especially cause this town is kind of transient, “ he continued. “You have a lot of people coming in and out and I think this kind of get everybody together and they can enjoy it and you couldn’t ask for a better day.” — Michael E. Ruane
A family during rush hour
Two hours before the parade, Steve DeFalco, 42, of Arlington, stood with his wife, Jenny, 41, children, Mia, 9, Hank, 6, and a clot of red-clad allies hollering “let’s go Caps!” at the passing rush hour traffic.
Kids yelled. Parents blew long horns. A guy in a passing trash truck waved.
Steve was already weary from blowing the long red horn. “Light headed,” he said. “Got to teach the kids how to do it. I can’t make it another two hours.”
Steve and his wife are season ticket holders and had flown to Las Vegas to witness the Caps’ triumph.
“I couldn’t not be there,” he said.
“It’s such a momentous thing for the city. I am so happy for the city. We’ve got so much angst.”
He hoped he and his group could sustain their exuberance, as they manned a stretch of side walk beneath an elm tree and adjacent to a long line of tan ports potties.
“But we’ve got kid energy on our side,” he said. “And that can power you through a lot.” — Michael E. Ruane
A Stanley Cup out of kitchen implements
Dillon Weinberg, a 17-year-old Caps fan, stood on the Mall on Tuesday morning with a replica Stanley Cup, constructed out of a bucket and kitchen bowls.
“It’s great to see everyone out here,” he said. “It’s just great to see us celebrate for once, instead of being on the losing end like all the other years. It’s good to have this happy vibe.”
The Caps win “brings everyone together, in a sense,” Weinberg said.
“Everyone’s our here for the Caps,” he said. “There’s thousands of people out, on the street, celebrating after we won. It was just a really great scene. It’s going to be another great scene today.” — Sarah Larimer
Busy on Metro
By 9:30 a.m., Metro reported that garages were full at Rockville, Vienna, Branch Avenue, East Falls Church, Rhode Island Avenue, Morgan Boulevard, Grosvenor Wiehle-Reston, Ft. Totten, Forest Glen, and Shady Grove (west garage).
The system was also hosting fans of all stripes and walks of life. The agency shared surveillance of a deer bursting through the tunnels at Crystal City station early Tuesday morning, adding “Seems like *everyone* wants to get aboard the @Capitals train this morning.” Metro reported that the deer safely left the system through the tunnel toward Reagan National Airport.
Among the crowds at Archives Station was Metro General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld, who stood out in his usual business suit — today, punctuated with a red tie. Hailing the “fantastic mood” Wiedefeld said the morning commute had gone smoothly but sought to temper expectations about the potential for historic ridership.
“Because of the timing of this, I’m not sure what the normal commuters did,” he said. “I’m sure a lot of these people are normal commuters — they’re just coming in later.”
Metro ridership was significantly higher than normal. By noon, about 351,000 trips had been taken, 78,000 more than were taken at the same time on Monday, though Monday is typically a lower ridership day.
Metro said it produced 150,000 Caps signs, reading “WE ARE #ALLCAPS” and “WE GOT THE CUP.” There were 75,000 of each design, and crews handing them out at stations appeared to be running low by early afternoon.
The agency said it would continue running rush-hour service throughout the day.
Wiedefeld said the parade was a memorable and potentially “once-in-a-lifetime” occasion, and the crowds had shown up as expected.
“It’s a good mix,” he said. “The crowd is a lot of young people — I guess they’re playing hooky or whatever, their parents let them get out of school.” — Faiz Siddiqui
Metro is running rush-hour service throughout the day, and fans are encouraged to use mass transit or ride sharing, with parking near the route limited. The busiest Metro stations are expected to be Archives, Arlington Cemetery, Foggy Bottom, Federal Triangle, Metro Center, Federal Center SW, L’Enfant Plaza, Smithsonian and Gallery Place. A full list of parking restrictions and road closures is available here.
The parade included a flyover of four F-16 Fighting Falcons from the District of Columbia’s Air National Guard at about 11:25 a.m. The jets flew up the Potomac and over near Independence and 23rd streets.
District Mayor Muriel E. Bowser and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton rose atop one bus, throwing trinkets to fans. The marching bands of Eastern and Ballou high schools, Capitals alumni, longtime season ticket holders and local television and radio personalities also rode in the parade.
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