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Blackhawks parade to run from United Center to Grant Park Friday

By Kim Geiger, John Byrne and Richard Wronski

Chicago Tribune reporters

9:12 AM EDT, June 26, 2013

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The Blackhawks' Stanley Cup victory tour will continue into Friday when the city hosts a parade and rally that could draw hundreds of thousands of fans.

The event, billed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel as an opportunity for Chicagoans to enjoy a "'Ferris Bueller's Day Off' for the entire city," will begin with a parade originating at the United Center and end with a rally at 11 a.m. in Hutchinson Field in Grant Park.

The start time for the parade was not disclosed, and officials offered few details about the celebration, other than issuing a warning not to bring alcohol and backpacks. They promised more information would be released Thursday.

The last time the Hawks brought the Stanley Cup to Chicago, in 2010, the city hosted a parade and rally that drew an estimated 2 million people, far more than the roughly 350,000 who turned out to celebrate the White Sox victory in the 2005 World Series.

The 2010 hockey champions rode double-decker buses down Washington Street and Michigan Avenue as a sea of fans wearing red hockey sweaters filled the streets. Patrick Kane chugged sparkling wine and threw tennis balls to the crowd. The procession stopped at Michigan and Wacker Drive, where the team hoisted the chalice at a late-morning rally.

The National Weather Service's forecast for Friday includes a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms and high temperatures in the lower 80s. The mayor's office said people attending the parade and rally should "take precautions regarding warm weather conditions."

Speaking at a Tuesday news conference, Emanuel pledged that the city would "put on a proper celebration."

Asked if the city's tight budget would put a damper on the event, he said the city would "work through the issues."

"My way of looking at it: Think of the alternative, if they had not won," he said.

If 2010 is any indication, the festivities are likely to clog traffic and public transportation.

"We are warning riders that we expect large crowds and crowded trains on Friday," Metra spokesman Michael Gillis said.

Metra will add service to accommodate crowds and has started selling a $5 unlimited-ride ticket that will be good for Friday only, Gillis said.

The ticket is available at ticket agencies now and on trains Friday. Metra is encouraging riders to buy the tickets in advance. Metra is also warning customers that no bicycles or alcohol will be allowed on trains Friday.

kgeiger@tribune.com

jebyrne@tribune.com

rwronski@tribune.com