KANSAS CITY — It was a party long in the making.
Hundreds of thousands of people lined Grand Boulevard downtown and filled the hill in front of the Liberty Memorial and Union Station on Wednesday to celebrate the Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl LIV victory.
Players and team personnel manned open-top buses that moved through a chilly, 2-mile parade route. Team chairman Clark Hunt, carrying the Vince Lombardi Trophy, led the way as fans celebrated the end of a 50-year Super Bowl drought.
It didn’t take long for some of the Chiefs' biggest stars, including tight end Travis Kelce and safety Tyrann Mathieu, to hop off their bus and join the fans’ celebration. Wide receiver Tyreek Hill danced, took selfies and seemed to have as much fun as anyone.
The moment members of Chiefs Kingdom waited multiple generations for lived up to its billing.
Gov. Mike Parson, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas and Jackson County Executive Frank White Jr. helped introduce the world champions and their coach, Andy Reid.
“We appreciate everything you do for us,” Reid said to the appreciative crowd. “The parade was second to none. Hey, next year, we’re coming right back here, baby!”
Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes, who has been lovingly chided by his teammates for his post-touchdown celebrations, busted out some serious moves throughout his teammates’ speeches.
“When I came here, the first thing I wanted to do was help bring the Lamar Hunt (AFC Championship) Trophy back to the Hunt family, and second, win the Super Bowl for the Hunt family and the Chiefs Kingdom, and we did it!” the quarterback said, as the crowd exploded.
But as general manager Brett Veach said, “Let's be real, we all came out here to hear Travis Kelce's speech.”
The All-Pro tight end did not disappoint.
“Let’s say it one more time,” he said, before repeating his now-famous quote. “You have to fight ... for the right ... to party!”
With Mahomes and his teammates celebrating behind Kelce, who was wearing a Chiefs-themed WWE World Championship belt, the most colorful and quotable player on the team continued.
“Can you dig it?” asked Kelce. "This is the most beautiful scene I have ever seen in my life. I cherish every moment with this team.”
The official celebration then ended with Reid banging the Chiefs Kingdom drum, as his players danced and celebrated like they wanted this party to never end.
The euphoria extended well into the rest of the day, even for those who awoke at the crack of dawn to secure prime position for the parade.
“This is a dream come true for me,” said fan Danny Stickley, who left his home at 6:45 a.m.
“To be honest with you, I was shocked,” said Stickley, who had a front-row view along the route. “Once I got off I-70 it took me about five minutes to find a parking lot, and before I knew it, here I was on the front row.
“We’ve waited so long for this to happen, and as a longtime Chiefs fan, I don’t want this feeling to end.”
Tom Howerton, who woke up in his home shortly after 2:30 a.m., dropped off his daughter at day care and was on the way to the celebration by 6 a.m., didn’t even try to contain his excitement.
“I’m on the front row, right where the players come in to get on the stage,” said Howerton. “I can’t believe it.
“It’s cold, but it is so worth it. You go to Arrowhead Stadium and it’s filled with 70,000 fans, and this multiplied that several times. I’ve been a Chiefs fan 30 years, and I have dreamed about this 30 years. And it’s even better than I ever imagined.”
Fans bundled up for the cold, but the forecast for 2 to 3 inches of snow did not materialize, with only light snow falling intermittently.
The event was nearly marred about three hours before the parade began, when an impaired driver broke through a barrier and sped along the parade route. Stop Sticks were thrown and patrol vehicles put the car into a forced spin, stopping it near a crowd of fans. The driver and another person were arrested at gunpoint, according to officials and video footage of the incident.
No one was injured. Police said in a news release the driver is under investigation for impairment. No weapons were found in the vehicle and there were no indications of terrorist activity, said police, who were trying to determine the suspect's motive.
Lucas told WDAF-TV he was proud of the quick response of officers, who were cheered by fans who witnessed the incident.
“We have even more heroes to cheer today,” Lucas said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.