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February 08, 2018

Eagles parade: We spent the day with fans – here are their stories

Live Coverage Eagles
02082018_Free_Bud_Light_DC Daniel Craig/PhillyVoice

Shannon Ferry and Kristen Cavey, teachers at East Hills Middle School in Bethlehem, Lehigh County, took a personal day to drive down to Philadelphia on Wednesday night to stay with friends for the parade. After the parade passed, they had a table at Fox & Hound with appetizers and beers.

PhillyVoice sent a team of roving reporters into the crowd Thursday at the Eagles championship parade to tell the story of the fans. Here's how they chronicled the day:


Thursday, 2:45 p.m., in South Philadelphia

To describe the scene at Fox & Hound in Center City shortly after the Super Bowl parade passed through Center City, only one word fits: chaos.

A Budweiser representative giving stamps and handing out tokens for the promised free Bud Lights estimated they had given out a "million" beers on Thursday.

Things got testy in the bar when Dave Spadaro got up to speak during the ceremony at the Art Museum but the audio of the celebration wasn't playing at the bar. "Audio!" the crowd started chanting. "Fox & Hound f***ing sucks right now," one patron remarked.

Customers were still enjoying themselves, nonetheless. Shannon Ferry and Kristen Cavey, teachers at East Hills Middle School, took a personal day to drive down Wednesday night and stay with friends for the parade and had a table with appetizers and beers. A group of nurses snagged a corner table and ordered food after watching the Eagles players go down Broad Street near City Hall.

"Some people were shoving, it was intense," said Katie Morris.

Of course, there were the normal complaints at a crowded bar. "If someone doesn't bring me my food..." one woman lamented.

– Daniel Craig

John Kopp/PhillyVoice

Squirm Washington and Rob Rudolph, of Philadelphia, took in the Eagles parade from South Penn Square.


Thursday, 1:47 p.m., in South Philadelphia

Rob Rudolph made the trek to City Hall prepared to cheer on his beloved Philadelphia Eagles. But he ended up seeing some of the 76ers first.

Rudolph said he spotted Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons watching the parade not far from him. He shouted a message to them.

"I said (screw) Lebron and take us to the finals," Rudolph said.

But he was just as wowed when the Eagles finally reached City Hall around 12:30 p.m. He cheered as he spotted Doug Pederson, Carson Wentz and Jason Peters. But he was particularly proud happy to see Duce Staley finally earn a ring, even if it came as an assistant coach.

"It was amazing – incredible," Rudolph said. "Philly needed this. ... All my life – since I was 5 – I was waiting for this. Since they tore down the Vet. All my life I've been a fan."

– John Kopp

Daniel Craig/for PhillyVoice

The Slater Funeral Home was happy to put the nail in the coffin of the New England Patriots.


Thursday, 1:15 p.m., in South Philadelphia

RIP, Patriots.

That was the message on a sign set up on Broad and Fitzwater for the Eagles Super Bowl victory parade.

Franchella Slater currently runs the family-owned Slater Funeral Home, which has been at the same spot at 1426 Fitzwater St. for decades.

The sign reads: "We buried the New England Patriots... Congratulations Philadelphia Eagles!"

Slater, who said she was in her 40s, clarified that she wasn't making light of the business she works in.

"Death is not funny, but burying the New England Patriots is funny," she said.

– Daniel Craig

Frank Burgos/For PhillyVoice

Heather Hughes, 28, of West Chester, at right, wouldn't let pregnancy keep her from the Eagles celebration. “She's having a Super Bowl baby,” said her cousin, Anne Marie Reagan, left.


Thursday, 12:45 p.m., on Benjamin Franklin Parkway

In the sea of humanity in front of the Art Museum, waiting for the Eagles to arrive, Heather Hughes, 28, of West Chester, sat calmly on a blanket on the cold ground eating a ham hoagie from a Fishtown market.

"She had to eat," said her cousin Anne Marie Reagan. "She's having a Super Bowl baby."

Despite being four months pregnant, Hughes said she couldn't miss the celebration for her beloved Eagles. "It's something I'll tell my kids."

And for Hughes, 67, a lifelong fan, it was a moment to celebrate after seasons of heartache.

"The moment they won, I cried and cried," she said. "I cried all day."

– Frank Burgos

John Kopp/PhillyVoice

Nicholas Farrell of Vineland, second from left, said the beer-can tree debuted at the Phillies' World Series parade in 2008.


Thursday, 10:45 a.m., on South Broad Street

What do you do with your empty beer cans while waiting for the Eagles parade to arrive? Well, in South Philly, a group of fans has strung them to a tree that they’re since dubbed "The Philly Philly Tree." Naturally.

But Nicholas Farrell, of Vineland, said the idea preceded the “Dilly Dilly” Bud Light commercials.

“We actually had it when the Phillies won the World Series,” Farrell said. “People just loved it. Then we did it for the Mummers parade.”

More than a dozen beer cans were hanging from it by 10:30 a.m., glistening in the sunlight. There were Bud Light cans – of course – but also several other brands. The group had no clue how many might be hanging by the time the Eagles pass by.

“No one else does it,” Farrell said. “No one decorates a tree.”

– John Kopp

Frank Burgos/For PhillyVoice

Eagles fans stand in the mud in front of the Art Museum on Thursday morning.


Thursday, 10:05 a.m., at the Art Museum

Brian Burns, 56, of Bowie, Maryland, and his folding chair got a prime spot next to Eakins Oval at 6 a.m.

"We had a nice crowd and it's been growing exponentially. I expect it being standing room only soon and we won't be able to move," he said as Jumbotrons replayed Super Bowl LII.

His chair was planted in front of a growing field of mud.

"It was ice in the beginning and as the morning got warmer and people started walking through, it got muddier." As soon as they saw the muck, people trying to get closer to the Art Museum steps cursed and turned away while others cursed and crossed the moat of muck anyway.

– Frank Burgos

Frank Burgos/For PhillyVoice

Tom Tucker, 57, of Brookhaven, Delaware County, wears his kelly green, Buddy Ryan-era Eagles jacket.


Thursday, 9:10 a.m., at 30th Street Station

Tom Tucker, 57, from Brookhaven, Delaware County, purchased his classic kelly green jacket when he was a season ticket holder during the Buddy Ryan era in the early '90s.

But "once I hit the [year] 2000 it was just basically for shoveling snow, it was the only time I wore the jacket." Now he was wearing it at the Eagles Super Bowl parade.

"I didn't feel like it's special. I just needed something Eagles and I wanted something warm so I got the old reliable. Did I ever think I was going to wear it to a Super Bowl parade? No," he said, laughing.

– Frank Burgos

John Kopp/PhillyVoice

Marissa Every, 27, of Norristown and Kevin Lamvercht, 28, of Perkiomen, wear their Eagles gear on South Broad Street.


Thursday, 8:50 a.m., at the Union League on South Broad

Kevin Lamvercht, 28, of Perkiomen, and Marissa Every, 27, of Norristown, booked several nights at a Center city hotel before the Eagles beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl, anticipating the very moment they are now enjoying – a victory parade.

When the parade was announced for Thursday, they canceled all but their Wednesday night reservation.

“It’s definitely amazing,” Lamvercht said as he stood near the Union League in Center City. “You can feel the passion.”

Every noted that Lamvercht has been waiting his entire life for this – but others have waited even longer.

“I can’t wait to see Jolly Old Saint Nick,” Every said, referencing Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles.

– John Kopp

John Kopp/PhillyVoice

Awaiting the parade on the sidewalk at Broad and Walnut (clockwise from top left) are Kirk Cooper, 40; Kara Johnston, 38: John Toomey, 15: Julianna Cooper, 12: Alyssa Cooper, 9 (pink); and Alexis Johnston, 6


Thursday, 8:50 a.m., Broad and Walnut streets

Kirk Cooper has waited his entire life for the moment when the Eagles would parade through the streets of Philadelphia as Super Bowl champions.

So he wasted no time in booking a Center City hotel immediately after the Eagles’ big win on Sunday. Fortunately, he guessed right in booking a hotel for Wednesday night. “I’ve been waiting 40 years for this,” Cooper said. “I was here for the Phillies in '08. I couldn’t wait for this day.”

He brought his sister, Kara Johnston, 38, along with his daughters, Julianna, 12, and Alyssa, 9. His niece, Alexis Johnston, 6, and nephew, John Toomey, 15, came too.

Several family members wore hats – with mechanical Eagles that flap – that they purchased at the Deptford Mall in South Jersey.

“It’s really exciting,” said Alyssa Cooper, 9. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing.”

– John Kopp

Daniel Craig/for PhillyVoice

The Side family from Delaware County – Paula, in front, husband Tom and daughter Allie – found spots to watch the Eagles Parade near the Tasker-Morris Station on South Broad Street.


Thursday, 8:34 a.m., Tasker-Morris Station on South Broad Street

Tom and Paula Side, along with their daughter Allie, came in to Philly early for the parade. They traveled from Delaware County to get a spot at 7:30 near the Tasker Morris station.

“Everything,” Paul said, when asked what the Super Bowl win means to him.

– Daniel Craig

Frank Burgos/For PhillyVoice

Long lines for the women's restroom on Thursday morning at 30th Street Station.


Thursday, 6:55 a.m., 30th Street Station

As cries of E-A-G-L-E-S roared through 30th Street and even Amtrak workers took time to pull out their smartphones to take pictures and videos of the scene, long lines started forming at the restrooms in the station. Women especially were hard hit as the line was at least hundred people deep. Maybe more.

Desperate, some women sneaked into the almost-as-crowded men's restroom and lined up for the toilets as men waited for the urinals. That is until an Amtrak police officer showed up.

"Any woman in here is going to get arrested!" he yelled as he stalked into the men's room. "And your cellphones confiscated!" About seven or eight women quickly found the exit.

Sarah Grant, 33, of Lancaster was waiting in line for the women's restroom because "it's the best place to be right now. They only set up 837 porta-potties for 3.5 million people. I needed to game plan this."

Grant and her friend Stephen Pawlikowski were using the station as their staging area. They had decided to ride Amtrak into the city from Delaware after seeing a mile-long line of people waiting at the SEPTA's Wilmington station. "It was a serpentine line down the stairs into the station" Grant said.

"People were in disbelief," said Pawlikowski, who described himself as part of the Eagles Maryland chapter. "I don't think most of those people are going to be able to get into the city."

Frank Burgos/For PhillyVoice

Shana Jefferies, 24, of Delaware County, had them laughing in the men's room at 30th Street Station on Thursday morning.

Update, 8:30 a.m. Thursday

The potty wars are continuing as lines for the restrooms grow even longer.

At one restroom near the Saxby's coffee shop in the food court, a group of women entered the men's room despite the strenuous protests of station workers, who threatened to call police.

One of those women, Shana Jefferies, 24, of Delaware County, tried to lighten the mood and hold her position. "I have a d**k. I'm transgender. It's 2018. Nobody's going to tell me what to do. Who are you to tell me not to use the men's room?"

As she waited to use a toilet, one of the men in the long line yelled, "Then you can use the urinal."

That drew some laughs.

"I'm trying not to get arrested today," said Jefferies, who is not transgender.

– Frank Burgos

Brian Hickey/PhillyVoice

Fans arrive at Jefferson Station in Center City on Thursday morning.

Thursday6:45 a.m., Jefferson Station

The early trains are emptying. Young. Old. A sea of green. Free signs available for parade goers. Droves of people walking west toward the Parkway. Ubers are readily available in the area around the Reading Terminal, a Philadelphia staple with a long line winding out the Filbert Street doors.

– Brian Hickey

Finn McGovern/For PhillyVoice

Hundreds of fans were gathered at along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway near the Art Museum by 6:15 a.m. Thursday. A program to honor the Super Bowl champion Eagles is scheduled to start there at 1 p.m.

Thursday, 6:20 a.m., Benjamin Franklin Parkway

Hundreds of Eagles fans are already gathered in the dark along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, determined to get a prime viewing position more than six hours before a scheduled 1 p.m. program at the Art Museum steps to honor the Super Bowl champions.

They are battling 28-degree cold and a wind chill of 19 degrees. The sun is expected to shine all day but temperatures will get only a bit warmer.

– Bob McGovern

Frank Burgos/For PhillyVoice

The Sita family from Paoli, Chester County, was up at 4 a.m. to drive into the city and find a parking spot near 30th Street Station.

Thursday, 6:18 a.m., 30th Street Station

Eagles Nation started to descend on Center City early.

At a parking lot across from the 30th Street Station, the Sita family from Paoli was fortifying themselves with bagels as they prepared to trek toward the Art Museum. They got up at 4 a.m. to make sure they got a parking space. Traffic had been light.

"We were afraid there was going to be long lines," said Phil Sita. Getting up so early to drive down was worth it, he said.

Great Valley schools remained open, unlike the Philadelphia School District. So Catherine Sita submitted educational travel forms for her two sons and daughter. "We're headed for the Art Museum," she said. "If we happen to run into a parade on the way we'll watch it."At 30th Street the booming voices of Eagles fans echoed down the cavernous main hall as SEPTA Regional Rail trains started to deliver carloads of young fans. By 6 a.m. the hall was a sea of green jerseys.

– Frank Burgos

Brian Hickey/PhillyVoice

Police prepare to tow a vehicle from a restricted parking area at the Fort Washington train station, one of just a couple of stations open Thursday on the Lansdale/Doylestown line.


Thursday, 4:50 a.m., Fort Washington, SEPTA Regional Rail

A burgundy Honda parked in the ticket agent’s spot drew the attention of Whitemarsh Township and SEPTA Transit Police.

“Jeffrey McGrath? Is Jeffrey McGrath here?” asked a female officer of the 100-or-so people in line.

No response.

If you see this, Jeffrey, you’re car is about to get towed. Not sure the SEPTA pass they saw in the window is going to help.

– Brian Hickey

Brian Hickey/PhillyVoice

Line-leaders Olivia Diorio and Kaja Newell are hoping to get to the “Rocky Steps” to watch the Eagles championship celebration.


Thursday, 4:40 a.m., SEPTA Regional Rail

Olivia Diorio and Kaja Newell were the first people in line at the Fort Washington station for what could be a 6:20 a.m. train down to the Eagles parade.

They’re hoping to get to the “Rocky Steps” to watch the celebration.

“Very cold” is how Diorio described her feelings of leading a line of about 20 people at 4:40 a.m.

“Very accomplished,” added Newell – with a smile.

– Brian Hickey

Bob McGovern/PhillyVoice

The second-to-last train out of Doylestown on Wednesday night was full of young Eagles fans making the trip into the city for Thursday's championship parade.


Wednesday, 11:24 p.m., aboard an inbound Regional Rail train

The second-to-last train out of Doylestown to Center City on Wednesday night – the #589 with four cars – was packed with young fans, many wearing Eagles jerseys and Super Bowl Champion caps. Even the conductor wore an Eagles lid on his head.

It was apparent as the nonstop chatter bounced from football to work stuff to musings like “Are we all staying together tonight?” that many of the late-night riders were part of large groups traveling into the city for the Eagles Super Bowl parade. Most had a backpack, bag or luggage at their feet or on an overhead rack. A few looked like they were already dressed for bed. And many exited at Temple University, apparently destined for floors and sofas of family and friends around campus.

For those who didn’t want to drive into the city and were unable to secure a special SEPTA pass to ride the Regional Rail on Thursday – they sold out early Wednesday afternoon – the last trains heading into town from the suburbs were a solid commuting alternative.

The palpable excitement and party atmosphere that permeated the train as it rolled south – nearly 12 hours before the official start of the parade – was just a plus.

– Bob McGovern