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Archive for Saturday, April 12, 2008

Parade route growing to accommodate crowd

It’s going to be a full house’

Some 60,000 people pack Massachusetts Street in downtown Lawrence to celebrate Kansas University's 1988 Men's NCAA Basketball Championship.

Some 60,000 people pack Massachusetts Street in downtown Lawrence to celebrate Kansas University's 1988 Men's NCAA Basketball Championship.

April 12, 2008

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Fans get 'extended' chance to congratulate Jayhawks

Just like in 1988, Jayhawk fans will line the streets at 3 p.m. on Sunday to give the men's basketball team one last hurrah. On Friday, police announced Sunday's parade route has been extended. Enlarge video

Local family hopes to carry on tradition at parade

A Lawrence family is hoping to carry on a 20-year tradition this Sunday. When the national champions make their way down Mass. Street for the celebration parade, look for a little something yellow in their hands. Enlarge video

Past Event
Celebration parade for KU men's basketball team

2008 NCAA Tournament

Get your March Madness fix at KUSports.com.

On the street

Do you plan on attending the parade for the championship team on Sunday?

I’m going to be in it. I’m on the cheer squad, so we’ll be following the band. I’m really excited to see the town’s reaction. I was at the homecoming ceremony at the stadium and this should be great, too.

More responses

Downtown simply isn't big enough for Jayhawk Nation.

Organizers of Sunday's parade of champions for the KU basketball team are extending the route beyond the central business district, aiming to accommodate tens of thousands of people expected to descend on Lawrence to celebrate the university's first national championship in 20 years.

Anywhere from 40,000 to 100,000 people are be expected to show up by the parade's 3 p.m. Sunday tipoff, and a four-block section of Massachusetts Street simply wasn't going to cut it.

"The sidewalks of downtown just aren't big enough to handle that many people," said Jane Pennington, executive director of Downtown Lawrence Inc. "For safety reasons, we needed to stretch it out."

Details emerged Friday for extending the parade beyond its initial downtown footprint, a somewhat inevitable development following the team's 75-68 victory in the NCAA championship game against Memphis. About 40,000 people had rushed into the middle of Massachusetts Street once that game ended, and officials feared that even more people would find even less room this Sunday when squeezing onto the sidewalks on the sidelines.

"It's going to be a full house," said Jim Marchiony, an associate athletics director. "We'll have people traveling here from throughout the region and from outside the region.

"It's very exciting - for the fans, for us, for the coaches and the players. It's something we're thrilled to be a part of."

Parade details

Here's the plan for the parade, gleaned from conversations with officials from Kansas Athletics Inc., Lawrence police and Downtown Lawrence Inc.:

¢ The parade begins at 3 p.m. at Seventh and Massachusetts streets. Participating will be all players, coaches and managers, riding in 21 convertibles and a flatbed truck. Members of the Spirit Squad will lead the parade, followed by the pep band and then the vehicles, with all heading south on Massachusetts to 19th Street, then west to Naismith Drive.

¢ Parking will be allowed throughout the downtown area, with all 2,700 municipal spaces - in parking garages, along streets and on surface lots, including the lot south of the Judicial and Law Enforcement Center, 111 E. 11th St. - available for use. People will be able to park on both sides of Massachusetts along the route between Seventh and 11th streets, but parking will be prohibited between 11th and 15th streets. From 15th to 19th streets, parking will be prohibited on the west side.

¢ Shuttle buses will be available. The free rides will run from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. from two stops along Mississippi Street - adjacent to KU's lot 94 at the east side of Memorial Stadium, and next to KU's parking garage north of the Kansas Union - to the Douglas County Bank parking lot at 300 W. Ninth, within easy walking distance of the parade. Parking in lot 94 and in the garage will be free. Sponsors are the bank, Downtown Lawrence Inc., KU on Wheels and Knoxville Racewear.

¢ The pep band will play from Seventh Street to Central Junior High School, before peeling off.

Police are advising spectators to show up early to grab optimum spots, and merchants are looking forward to having thousands of people visiting downtown for the festivities.

High-scoring sales

Lois Tooker, who manages Yummy's Over the Top Frozen Yogurt at 1119 Mass., is bringing in extra help for the expected Sunday rush. Her place, which opened five months ago, normally banks about $600 for a Sunday, but she figures that number could jump by up to 50 percent with parade activity.

Tooker remembers attending the last championship parade, which came in 1988, soon after she'd received her social welfare degree from KU.

"This one will be bigger," she said. "KU basketball is more popular than ever."

Doug Compton, president of First Management Inc., plans to enjoy this parade even more than the last one. Just as he did 20 years ago, Compton will be driving his 1959 Corvette convertible down the middle of Massachusetts - only this time his passenger in the back will be current KU Coach Bill Self instead of KU's 1988 coach, Larry Brown.

"I'm going to try to take more of it in this time," Compton said. "I want to see all the people. I want to take it all in and see the players enjoy the celebration. That's one good thing about being a fan: You're there to enjoy it."

Cleaning up

Mike Wildgen, president of the Old West Lawrence Association, knows that the parade will bring plenty of cars and pedestrians to his neighborhood just west of downtown. But that's to be expected.

During each of the past two weekends, he and his neighbors have endured blocked sidewalks and driveways, plenty of noise and enough discarded aluminum cans to make any recycler happy.

"We could have supplied the Alcoa aluminum company with a year's supply of cans after those games," he said, of the revelry following KU's tournament victories over Davidson, North Carolina and, ultimately, Memphis.

But he wouldn't have it any other way.

"I was happy to clean it up," said Wildgen, who has lived in legendary KU Coach Phog Allen's old house on Louisiana Street for more than 20 years. "Most people are excited for the coach and players and the program. I'd rather have this than the reverse."

In case fans can't get enough of the parade, the celebration will continue into the evening. Cars carrying players, coaches and others will end up at Allen Fieldhouse, where the champions will join their families for a private afternoon reception upstairs.

Fieldhouse doors will open to the public at 5 p.m., and a free, open-to-the-public awards ceremony is scheduled for 6 p.m.

The celebrations never get old, Marchiony said.

"We'd do this 10 years in a row, if we had the opportunity," he said.

Comments

PeteJayhawk 6 years, 8 months ago

Did the Journal-World not have any color film back in the olden days of 1988?

KansasPerson 6 years, 8 months ago

The J-W, like many other papers,did not start publishing color photos in its newspapers until some time in the 1990s.

justthefacts 6 years, 8 months ago

Looking forward to it. Hope everyone behaves (be nice to everyone, do not make a mess, and do not hurt anyone else or their property!!).

KsTwister 6 years, 8 months ago

No color LJW shots in '88??! Your kidding right? But I do remember one person who got their foot ran over by one of the parade cars. Too many autograph hounds at once will cause things like that.

wats211 6 years, 8 months ago

Marchiony....you are still going to get fired....sorry!

merrywidow033 6 years, 8 months ago

whenever i hear the name doug compton, it sends shivers down my spine. and i hear, if you say that name three times in front of a bathroom mirror, he'll come through, burn down your property, force it to be sold to him and then rent it at ridiculously over-inflated prices! but that's just an urban legend.=P

KansasPerson 6 years, 8 months ago

KsTwister (Anonymous) says:No color LJW shots in '88??! Your kidding right?Nope, not kidding! I'm trying to more exactly remember when they started printing in color. I know I saved a paper from the day my son was born (1991) and I'm pretty sure that one doesn't have color -- but it's been a while since I've seen it, so I'm not sure. But it's definitely been since I've lived here....

simplykristib 6 years, 8 months ago

That was a smart move to extend the parade route. There was no way to get a lot of people into downtown Lawrence from 7th to South Park.

tir 6 years, 8 months ago

I am thrilled that the Jayhawks won the championship, and I applaud the team for their outstanding performances all season long. But as someone who lives along the part of Mass St. where the parade will pass, I am very concerned about the impact this will have in my neighborhood. Twice this month I have had to put up with literally thousands of noisy, drunken fans stampeding through my yard on their way to and from downtown, keeping me awake half the night and leaving behind a mess of crushed plants, broken glass, beer cans, and other debris, which I had to clean up. Now it seems that I can expect thousands more uninvited "guests" to show up in my front yard this Sunday afternoon, maybe even more people than during the last two invasions, and I'm faced with the prospect of having to clean up after them, too. Needless to say, that puts a damper on my enthusiasm for the event. Why couldn't the organizers planned to end the parade at the south end of South Park instead of extending it through the residential part of Mass St.? The City will have police doing crowd control downtown and the park, and they'll send City crews out to clean up those areas afterwards, but the rest of us will be on our own in dealing with the crowds and the aftermath. Maybe the Sunday afternoon crowds will be a little better behaved than the previous stampedes that I've witnessed, but after recent events, I have my doubts. Too often sports fans seem to believe they should be excused for anything they do while expressing their enthusiasm, even if it's rude or destructive.

alm77 6 years, 8 months ago

tir, we moved to this college town to enjoy the optimistic youthfulness and I'm sure you enjoy that as well, this is just the "down side". Our neighborhood has the occasional college party and we knew when we moved here that would happen, that's all just part of it. Take the good with the bad. You'll be over it by next week and know to be prepared for it again in 2028. ;) OKAY, am I the only person who took one look at that picture and then suddenly understood the reservations of the athletic department having this parade? That was 20 years ago, how much as Lawrence grown since then? 100,000 people? I think their hesitation was justified. I'm glad that the parade will happen, we'll be there, but I'm also glad to see this picture so we know what to be prepared for.

rockchalkhawk00 6 years, 8 months ago

merrywidow, agreed about Doug WESLEY I mean Compton, I heard he even drove a bigfoot over several cars at Laird Noller Ford because they forgot to pay the Lawrence neighborhood association fee!!!

The_Voice_of_Reason 6 years, 8 months ago

"Let the cheerleaders do the driving"Hey Merrill... Monday's headline "Number of parade goers run over by cheerleader trying to chew gum and drive at the same time"

pomegranate 6 years, 8 months ago

Did anyone else notice in the photo that all of those people are dressed for late spring and summer?The lucky stiffs got to wear shorts, short sleeved and sleeveless shirts!We get to wear snow suits, hats , gloves , scarves, mittens, heavy coats.But like it or not--here we come!!!

Jayhawk_in_the_Boat 6 years, 8 months ago

Hey, it could be worse. I was in Savannah for their St. Paddy's celebrations last month ... That's more than 400,000 visitors PLUS locals along a parade route that stretches for at least a mile through mostly residential parts of historic Savannah. Combine that with a tradition of hard drinking and you've got a recipe for a big mess to clean up the next day. Then, as someone who lives along the route, go through that every year. Maybe just once (or three times in one week) every 20 years is not too much to put up with, in perspective.

George_Braziller 6 years, 8 months ago

I understand what tir is talking about. I live on the edge of downtown and don't look forward to the parade either. Unless you live in the middle of a space that will have four bazillion people suddenly dropped into it it's something that most can't appreciate._____alm77 (Anonymous) says: tir, we moved to this college town to enjoy the optimistic youthfulness and I'm sure you enjoy that as well, this is just the "down side". Our neighborhood has the occasional college party and we knew when we moved here that would happen, that's all just part of it. Take the good with the bad. You'll be over it by next week and know to be prepared for it again in 2028. ;)

ralphralph 6 years, 8 months ago

T. Boone Pickens will lead the parade, carrying the Olympic torch.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 8 months ago

Too bad developers/politicians always think they have to be seen considering they had nothing to do with winning the championship. Ego Ego Ego and maybe a touch of arrogance.Let the cheerleaders do the driving.

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