KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Well, Chiefs fans did it! They painted the town red by coming out to Union Station and Grand Boulevard to cheer on the Super Bowl LVII champions.
Hundreds of thousands attended Wednesday’s ‘Victory Parade’ in the downtown area, but an exact number is yet to be determined.
“We got some really smart people trying to figure out how big Chiefs nation is, so I think it’s going to be several zeroes and a lot of commas,” Kansas City’s Public Works Director, Michael Shaw, said jokingly.
Shaw said the city’s been planning Wednesday’s massive celebration since the AFC Championship more than two weeks ago.
The parade concluded with a rally at Union Station where superstars Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce pumped up passionate fans with a couple of speeches.
When the rally ended, that’s when the city got to work. About 90 employees from Kansas City’s Public Works, Water, and Parks Departments suited up with backpack blowers and other devices to clear up all of the red and yellow confetti, discarded alcohol bottles, and plastic bags.
“We’re out literally blowing the confetti and the trash to the street, and then our street sweepers will come and sweep the streets,” added Shaw.
They started from the north and worked their way south, with the entire process lasting up to seven hours.
Union Station proved to be the biggest challenge, since it’s where thousands of fans congregated at the end of the parade.
Trash cans were overflowing with trash, while some didn’t even bother; they left dozens upon dozens of empty food and beverage containers on the ground for the city to clean up.
“This is the type of work we like to do. We like to have this type of fun. It’s a challenge, no doubt, but it doesn’t happen all the time so we’re up for the challenge, and that’s the least we can do. When the Royals won in 2015, we just realized how unprepared we were for what that could be. Then in the last Super Bowl, it was a lot better. This one’s been really extremely well done,” Shaw said.
More than 60 people from the city, state, and federal government congregated in Kansas City’s Emergency Operation Center to watch the two-hour parade on several big screens, carefully looking to see if any threats or issues popped up.
“There were some EMS calls, some police disturbance calls, but to my knowledge we didn’t have any serious injuries that occurred in the parade,” emergency management director for the city, Jim Connelly, said.
Connelly added that, overall, things “went well” like he hoped they would. However, the department will meet later to discuss what they did right and what they could’ve done better in order to prepare for the city’s next big events: the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in March and the NFL Draft in April.
Once all the cleanup process concluded around 11 p.m., the city switched over to snow operations to pre-treat roads for potential freezing rain overnight.