Posted: 7:19 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012

Thousands begin gathering for Giants victory parade

SF Giants World Series celebration parade crowd
SF Giants World Series celebration parade crowd

KTVU and Wires

SAN FRANCISCO —

Fans began taking up positions in the early morning hours Wednesday for a victory parade and celebration honoring the World Champion San Francisco Giants.

David and Eunice Lee left their Bay Point home in the East Bay in the early morning hours and were preparing to board a BART train into the city dressed in their Giants gear.

“I want to see (Angel) Pagan, (Pablo) Sandoval and (Tim) Lincecum,” David Lee told KTVU. “The crowd, the players, and the party atmosphere – it’s going to be great.”

The Lees will be among the 1 million people expected to line Market St. and the streets leading to the San Francisco Civic Center where a massive stage had been set up in front of city hall for the victory celebration.

It was going to be the second victory parade for Eric Hollingsworth from Suisun City. He said while 2010 parade was special, this year’s celebration will even be better.

“They played as a team,” he said of the 2012 Giants. “They played as a team before but this was a very special group. I wanted to get here early to get a good seat. To beat the crowd, take some pictures, have some fun."

Jill Mandes and her family were setting up in the Civic Center. They had driven in the predawn hours from Sacramento to San Francisco.

"It was a great Series," she said of the Giants four-game sweep of the Detroit Tigers in the World Series. "I'm super excited to be here. I'm not going to get much sleep. I have to work tonight so we have to drive back right after the celebration."

Meanwhile up on Market Street, Samantha and Danielle Ford and their friend Jamie Fannell had secured a prime viewing spot, especially for a glimpse at San Francisco Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford.

"I'm a huge Giants fan," Samantha Ford said. "We are hoping to get a good look at all the players...Get a chance to see them having some fun... and definitely get to see Crawford."

Danielle Ford said they had arrived in the pre-dawn hours to make sure they got a front-row seat.

"We wanted to be in the front row and maybe give them a high five," she said.

BART transit officials have predicted one of the busiest days in the history of the commuter line between San Francisco and the East Bay. Extra trains were to be deployed before and after the celebration.

At the Civic Center, fans began filling up the plaza in front of City Hall in the early predawn hours.

The parade, scheduled to start at 11 a.m. at the foot of Market Street, will proceed down the thoroughfare before making a right at McAllister Street and ending at City Hall and Civic Center Plaza.

There, Mayor Ed Lee will present the Giants with a key to the city and honor them in a celebration featuring speeches from players, coaches and dignitaries. It is the team's second World Series in three years.

The mayor said the city is "ready for a great, great celebration" that will be "a family-friendly event," a stark contrast to raucous celebrations after Sunday's series-clinching win that led to 36 arrests and destruction around the city.

"We want to prevent that from happening" again on Wednesday, Lee said.

Giants CEO Larry Baer said "a parade can't just come together in 36 or 48 hours," so the team had worked in secret with city officials before the clinching game but did not want to publicize the plans out of fear of jinxing the team.

He said Wednesday's revelry will be "a day to relax, reflect and just celebrate our heroes."

Lee said a difference from the parade to honor the Giants' 2010 World Series will be that this year, each player will have their own vehicle with their family.

In 2010, multiple players were on wheeled cable cars that some onlookers said were difficult to see, he said.

"It will make the parade a little longer but increase fan appreciation," the mayor said.

Lee said safety precautions during the parade will include four reunification centers for children who may get separated from their parents.

He said he anticipates "quite a number of kids" attending the event.

However, San Francisco Unified School District Superintendent Richard Carranza encouraged students to stay in school and not attend the parade.

"Every day and every minute of instruction counts," Carranza said in a statement. "So we encourage families to make sure their child is in school and ready to learn."

The district sent a reminder to students planning on celebrating Wednesday that all public schools will be in session.

After the Giants won the 2010 World Series, there was a slight dip in elementary and middle school attendance, and a large dip in high school attendance, district spokeswoman Gentle Blythe said.

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