When you wait 52 years for a Stanley Cup, you have spent many hours braving thunderstorms to draw a coveted plot of downtown sidewalk or arch terrain grass?
"This is the biggest party St. Louis has ever seen," said Randy Sapienza, 36, who was under the arch at the start of the parade. He felt the crowd was larger than when the Cardinals won the World Series in 2011.
He said the presence was a testament to the hunger and passion of fans in the area, describing St. Louis as a "big hockey town" full of "bitter".
For Dan Munson, losing a night's sleep was not a great sacrifice to give his 5-year-old son a front row seat in history.
Munson, of O. Fallon Mo., had planned to arrive in town at dawn on Saturday, when he heard about 22 hours. news that the best Kiener Plaza spots were already filled.
So he went down and placed his claim on the sidewalk in front of the Stifel Theater at 11pm. Friday.
He just has a chair. At the end of the night, he said, a tent would appear here and there on the sidewalk.
At 3 o'clock in the morning, Bob Pinkley had arrived from Crystal City with his crew of 15 people. His group grew up under their pop-up tent until he was joined at 30 pm on Saturday at 9:30.
"We wanted to be in the front row to see the guys who won the cup," said 52-year-old Pinkley. "I was waiting all this life for this cup."
At the beginning of the parade, the course and the gathering site under the vault were crowded with people.
Mark Robinson, of Kirkwood, arrived at the Ark at 8 am Saturday with his wife Susan.
"We want to be part of it because I've always been a fan of blues," said Mark Robinson. "We are also here to represent our children living in a deplorable state and expect us to be there, and we can send them photos."
Robinson said the atmosphere of the parade was an extension of the evening watch – a shared experience.
"There was absolutely that kind of collective bond, in which you hug people you did not even know," he said of the playoff games. He added that it was common to see older supporters demolish after the victory, but that he could feel that the younger ones were also living something they would remember "for the rest of their lives".
Wildwood's 80-year-old Leilani Hafley heads to the front of the crowd to try to take pictures of some of the players: the goalkeeper and "this other guy".
In her excitement, she was briefly separated from her family. Once together, the group discovered the names of the other players: Ryan O. Reilly.
But all that Hafley had for his problem was pictures of people taking pictures. Whatever it is, she was happy to be at the party in honor of her brother, who died five years ago.
"He was such a fan, he would take you by the head and beat you (kindly) if they scored a goal," Hafley said. At 1:30 pm, his group was trying to leave the gardens.
"She does not want to go back to the car," said her 53-year-old daughter Debbie Hughes of Pacific.
Some people cluttering the arch said they feel compelled by citizenship.
"If you live here, you should be here," said Katie Reasor of St. Louis.
"It's a bit like a St. Louis, you can not miss it – the parade, the celebration," said Tony Stephenson, 41, and an analyst at Webster Groves. "The way the team played represented the city, they work hard, they play hard, they party."
He then went in search of a beer near the old courthouse.
The dedication was to guarantee a good point of view near the rally stadium, under the arch. Members of the Tejada family explored the area last night and arrived at 7 am on Saturday. They said waiting and rain were small prices to pay to "make sure we were here to cheer them on and say thank you," said Alice Tejada, 60, of Collinsville.
Other dedicated families have also been propped up against a metal fence near the stage. Cody Fulkerson and Amanda Grellner woke up at 5:30 am to drive to Linn, near Jefferson City.
Fulkerson said that he could not have imagined this end of the season, especially with the burial of the Blues in the NHL winery early January.
"I thought the season would be long," he said. "It's a beautiful story, even for young kids: do not give up."
They said it was great to see the championship unify people, something that shows up at Saturday's festivities.
"The energy is incredible," said Grellner, 47. "It's something that can bring people from all walks of life together. (…) For St. Louis, I think it's something we need."
Jaimin Chung, 44, and his 9-year-old son Thomas, came from downtown from Ballwin. The family moved to the area a few years ago from San Diego, but she still wanted to participate in "the historic event".
"It's our first time here, so we do not know where we are," said Jaimin Chung while his son and he were sitting on top of a stone wall at Kiener Plaza, his son nearby with a blues flag and a horn.
For the lucky ones near the scene under the Ark, the sight of the crowd stretching in the opposite direction and climbing up to the Old Courthouse might offer an even more impressive sight.
"It's amazing to see everything blue," said David Lawrence, 37, who works in security at the Enterprise Center, but who was no longer needed today. He said that seeing the cup arrive in St. Louis was a "dream come true".
Elsewhere, the Green Seafoam suit worn by Brandon Breault at the parade while leaving his home in Lafayette Square was a little hot despite the cooler weather than usual Saturday.
But it was worth it.
Breault, 32, carried it in honor of his father, the original owner of the suit, and the brand during the last time the Blues participated in the Stanley Cup final.
"It's been 50 years, that made sense," said Breault. "It's a DuPont 100% Dacron double knit polyester."
His friend Tyler Hamm, 26, of St. Peters, took a more traditional approach with a gray T-shirt of the Stanley Cup champions, but was no less enthusiastic about it.
"Once they took part in the series, we had the impression that it was supposed to be," he said.
Andi Bauman has already encouraged the blues on his return from Boston. Bauman, 39, works as a weather observer at the St. Louis Lambert International Airport.
Even though there were only a few employees, "it was noisy even with a few of us who encouraged them to get out of the plane", a- she declared.
Bauman, from Oakville, was on the runway with her 12-year-old daughter, Emily, and her niece, 12-year-old Ava Bauman, to visit their hometown hero, Pat Maroon.
"It does not seem real," said Andi Bauman.
A sweater and blue flags were visible along the road; songs filled the air in some places: "We have the cup! We have the cup!
"I wanted to see them win a goal in my life, and I got it," said Kerri Weston, 44, of St. Charles. The pharmacist was on the run even though she was working at night.
Kevin Coughlin, 53, of southern St. Louis County, said he attended every game of the season. He grew up in Belleville playing street hockey, listening to Dan Kelly announce the games on the radio. I love the Cardinals, but the Blues have the priority, "he told Kiener Plaza, who loves the beauty of the pass and shooting, as well as the team's work.
"There are a lot of things going on in the game," he said of the game on the ice. Being a fan has come with a lot of grief over the years.
"Seeing them go so far, you understand how difficult it is to win everything," said Coughlin.
Others have been spoiled young.
"They were able to adopt them very quickly," said Bill Jansen, 33, of his daughters Mady, 8, and Sophie, 6. The family has recently moved from Ohio.
Lucresha LeFlore, 44, from Dupo, became a fan of blues about seven years ago.
"To see them get to this point is really incredible," she said while standing with her fiancé, firefighter Tony Turner, under the Ark. "We're going, especially since the cardinals are not doing very well."
Rhonda Rizzo, 55, fell in love with Blues about the same time she fell in love with her husband, 52-year-old Jim Rizzo. He took her to her first game of Blues when they started dating in the 1980s, and she's been a fan ever since. .
The Rizzos were at the beginning of the parade route in front of Union Station with a dozen friends from Webster Groves.
Jim Rizzo, in yellow shorts, with a shirt and blues cap, said: "It's just exciting … St. Louis is always getting a bad shot for things."
"It makes us proud to be in St. Louis," said his friend Vikki Sanders.
"The city needed it," said Brian McMurtry, 70, executive director of the Regional Sports Authority, who oversees the Edward Jones Dome, while he was heading to the archway with his family. "In addition, it was unexpected – no one expected it to be the year."
"The whole city is united," said Mary Taylor Endsley, 24, of St. Louis, who was not overloaded with more than 50 people waiting in front of her, waiting for her. 39, use the portable bathrooms.