Photos: Kansas City turns red as Chiefs fans throw a massive 2023 Super Bowl victory party
The Kansas City Chiefs celebrated their Super Bowl win on Wednesday with a parade that stretched more than a mile through downtown and ended up at a rally in front of Union Station. Here are the best photos from the day.
City officials expected half a million people to show up Wednesday to celebrate the Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl victory. But thanks to decent weather, the final crowd size may be upwards of 1 million across the city.
To prepare, streets were closed along the parade route for more than a day in advance.
A hulking stage was built in front of Union Station where team owners, players, elected officials and celebrities hyped up the massive crowd.
“There's some great cities in America, but there's no place you'd rather be and no greater place to be than right here, baby,” Chiefs head coach Andy Reid told fans. “I'm very proud of these guys on the stage, very proud of our entire organization.”
Along the parade route, fans stood 10 deep in some places to watch the convoy of trucks and double-decker buses crawl through the heart of downtown.
Others lined upper-floor windows, hung off street lights and perched in trees to watch the procession. Neon-clad construction workers viewed the proceedings from scaffolding in the Financial District.
Fans started staking out parade-viewing property along the route long before the sun came up. They came from far and wide.
Jesse Carrera made the trip from Centennial, Colorado, to celebrate the big win with his sister. The two grew up in Kansas City watching the Chiefs.
"It's a mandatory celebration if your town makes it to the Super Bowl," he said.
Carrera, 62, said they woke up at 4 a.m. to find their place, about 20 rows back from the stage at Union Station.
"My crazy sister said, 'Hey, let's go do it,'" Carrera said. "It couldn't be any better — no regrets at all."
Super Bowl MVP and Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes walked much of the parade route, wearing ski goggles, a red jacket and a WWE Championship belt.
He shook hands, signed autographs and high-fived fans along the way.
Safety Juan Thornhill passed out cigars.
"A two-time champion — not a one-time champion, but a two-time champion, baby! We the champions of this whole league," Thornhill said. "We've been pushing, working hard every day since July. Everybody doubted us but we (are) the team of the league."
Temperatures were stuck in the 30s and 40s throughout the day, but weather conditions remained more pleasant than they were during the victory parade two years ago.
Instead of snow, red and gold confetti floated to the ground all morning.
Before leading the crowd in a top-of-the-lungs rendition of the Beastie Boys' "You Gotta Fight for Your Right to Party," tight end Travis Kelce, wearing a silver Bud Light chain, said it's time to run it back again next year.
"Let me take you back to 2022 in the month of, maybe, April. ... The haters were saying that the Chiefs would never make the playoffs. The haters were saying that the Chiefs were done," he said. "If you knew the Chiefs were going to get the No. 1 seed let me hear you say, 'hell yeah!'"
The crowd roared in response.
Now, football fans and officials in Kansas City will set to prepare for the NFL Draft, scheduled from April 27 to April 29. Hundreds of thousands of fans are expected to return to Union Station for that event, estimated to generated up to $100 million for the city.
You can see how the crowds at Union Station and the National World War I Memorial and Museum grew over the hours, thanks to this time lapse video captured by KCUR's Julie Denesha.
Wonder what it might look like if the parade was thrown in 1923 instead of 2023? Amateur photographer David Wetzel offered these images from the day.