By MARGARET STAFFORD
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Fans lined up Wednesday morning to get a prime spot in downtown Kansas City as the city celebrates the Kansas City Chiefs’ second Super Bowl championship in two years.
Chiefs coach Andy Reid and Super Bowl MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes will join teammates, family and Chiefs officials as they ride in open-air vehicles down a main downtown streets to a rally at Union Station.
Most schools, many businesses and some government offices in the Kansas City metro area were closed to allow fans to enjoy the festivities.
Fans endured a chilly wind as the sun came up to wait in long lines for food trucks and merchandise trucks, and even at a tent where a barber was giving free haircuts. Tents of those who slept overnight to get a prime spot dotted the area around Union Station, and some people were fast asleep hours before the parade began.
A group of about 25 Chiefs fans from Kansas City cooked up a breakfast feast, complete with corn on the cob, bacon and potatoes and all the trimmings — and they had steaks ready for later in the day.
Dominic Zamora, 18, of Kansas City, said the friends arrived about 6 a.m. to set up their tailgate, continuing a tradition whenever he and his friends attend Chiefs games. He said he expects to return for more parades in the coming years.
“With Mahomes, there’s more to come,” Zamora said. “It’s going to be fun, and I’m excited to show up.”
Manuel Palacio, 48, of Kansas City, was dressed in a cow’s suit in a tribute to Kansas City’s “Cowtown” nickname.
He said he was a longtime Buffalo Bills fan who converted to the Chiefs in about 1993 after losing a bet with a Chiefs fan.
“I had to convert,” Palacio said. “It’s like being an Oakland Raiders fan; at some point you have to cheer for the team who keeps winning,” he said, laughing.
Palacio said he and his extended family spend the season watching the Chiefs games at home and decided “when — not if — we win the Super Bowl, we’re going to go down there and have some fun, celebrate together.”
Officials began planning the parade even before the Chiefs defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 38-35 Sunday on a field goal with 8 seconds remaining in the game.
Officials said that more than 19 local and area law enforcement agencies, along with fire departments and transportation leaders are ready for the anticipated crowd.
The City Council Transportation and Infrastructure Committee agreed to earmark $750,000 for parade-related expenses, and Mayor Quinton Lucas estimated overtime costs for police and firefighters would total more than $1.5 million.
The the Kansas City Sports Commission is expected to contribute another $1 million in private donations, and the Jackson County Legislature voted to add $75,000.
After decades of championship drought, the city is gaining experience with victory parades. Two years ago, the Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers for the team’s first Super Bowl championship in 50 years. That followed the Kansas City Royals winning the World Series in 2015, the city’s first baseball championship in 30 years.
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