Dizzy with the thrill of a Super Bowl victory — and late-night revelry — Ravens fans spent Monday stocking up on purple gear and planning to close offices and pull children out of school for Tuesday's victory parade.
Women heaped on purple rings and bracelets, couples slapped purple paint onto the family car and parents dragged children into school a few hours late, explaining they had stayed up late for the Super Bowl.
From time to time, Marylanders marveled at the news that, for many, felt like a dream come true: After 12 years, the Ravens were again world champions. On Tuesday morning, the Ravens will travel through downtown streets in the city's first major victory parade since the team won the Super Bowl in 2001, when 200,000 gathered to celebrate.
"This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience," said Courtney Creamer of Stoneleigh. "Especially this year, it's just magical."
Customers bustled Monday into With Gratitude, the York Road gift shop Creamer owns, to pick up Ravens shirts, flags, headbands and even wine glasses emblazoned with the team's logo.
Creamer plans to close the shop Tuesday and head to the parade, which kicks off in front of City Hall at 10:45 a.m., with her three children and other neighborhood families. The group will squeeze into a black van — decorated with purple flags and banners for the occasion — to go downtown for the festivities.
The parade will travel south from City Hall on Commerce Street, then wind along Pratt and Howard streets before ending at M&T Bank Stadium, said city officials, who warned that numerous streets would close and more than a dozen bus lines would be diverted. The parade will culminate in a celebration at the stadium about 12:30 p.m., featuring celebrity entertainers, and, of course, the team.
"It's Ravens players, the Ravens band, Ravens cheerleaders, Ravens coaches and the Ravens mascot," said Tracy Baskerville, a spokeswoman for the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts. "And confetti. Of course, you can't have any event without confetti."
Admission to the stadium, which will open at 10 a.m., is free. Fans may also park for free in the stadium lots, which will open at 9 a.m.
In 2001, people packed the roofs of downtown office buildings despite a cold rain to watch the champions parade in 73 Humvees through downtown streets. Tuesday's forecast calls for mostly cloudy skies with a high of 41.
Baskerville said the city is setting up bicycle racks as barriers along the route, so that fans can watch the players before they enter the stadium. She said the start of the parade at City Hall would make a great place for a quick stop for busy workers who need to get back to the office.
Kirby Fowler, president of the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore Inc., said he believed many downtown businesses would close for the parade. The celebration is likely to cause traffic to grind to a halt, as many downtown streets are closed.
"It ought to be a national holiday," said Fowler.
Endodontist Tim Skane, 37, is closing his office, Harbor Endodontics, for the day because of the parade.
"We are very excited about the Ravens, but I almost don't have a choice," he said. "We're at the corner of Charles and Lombard. Everything around us is going to be shut down."
Like many area parents, Skane is pulling his 4-year-old daughter, Stella, out of preschool for the event.
"We very highly value education, but there's certain events in life that have a certain importance and this is one of them," he said. "To be able to support the city and the team, it's incredible."
Michael Evitts, spokesman for the Downtown Partnership, said his organization is granting its employees leave to attend the parade.
"Our feeling is it's better to acknowledge what's going to happen than force them to call in sick," he said. "Even if they're at the office tomorrow, they're not concentrating. Nothing unites this town across all demographics like the Ravens."
Evitts said he expected the parade to draw thousands of fans. "This is going to be even bigger than last week," he said of the Ravens rally before the team left for the Super Bowl in New Orleans. "This is a moment of civic significance. This is a moment of cultural significance."
Many parents said they felt it was worth it for children to miss a day of classes for a celebration they would likely never forget.
Sara Waire of Stoneleigh said she told her daughter's kindergarten teacher Monday that she wouldn't be coming to school Tuesday.
"Our plan is to trek down there as a family," said Waire. Her husband, John Waire, is a photographer who plans to document the event; daughter Mady, 5, and son, Liam, 3, will wear pint-sized Ravens jerseys.
Sara Waire, a native of upstate New York, said she had never gotten into football until she moved to Baltimore nine years ago.
In contrast, her children could not be more excited about the Ravens. The director of their school, Ascension Lutheran Nursery School and Kindergarten in Towson, has been greeting children with a raven puppet for the past week and the children have made Ravens-themed crafts.
"Our son has a Flacco jersey, and when Flacco threw the touchdown, he jumped up and said, 'I'm Flacco too,'" Waire said.
Monica Beeman, a stay-at-home mother from Severn, said she also planned to take her sons, ages 3, 6 and 8, out of school for the parade.
"This is an experience I want them to have," said Beeman, who will take the light rail with another mother and her children. "This is something they're going to remember forever."
Tommy Sinbazo, a stand-up comedian, plans to attend the parade wearing a costume that will both keep him warm and amuse other fans.
Sinbazo, 35, of Joppatowne, said he would wear a purple robe, a purple and black cape, a gauntlet and full face mask — like a Knight Templar — to the event.
"You don't wear that to Walmart," he said. "But it's events like this that I'm pretty sure I won't get stared at. How many times in your life do you get to say you're going to a victory parade for the Ravens?"
Baltimore Sun reporter Joe Burris contributed to this article.
The Ravens victory parade will kick off at 10:45 a.m. Tuesday at City Hall. From City Hall, the parade will proceed south on Commerce Street, continue to Pratt and Howard streets, and end at M&T Bank Stadium.
About 12:30 p.m., fans can attend a free celebration featuring the team and entertainment at M&T Bank Stadium. The event will be held rain or shine. Concessions, merchandise and restrooms will be available.
Parking for the stadium celebration is free in lots F, G, H, and J and will open at 9 a.m. No tailgating will be permitted. Fans can enter the stadium through gates A, B, C, and D beginning at 10 a.m.
Street closures and parking restrictions
The Maryland Transit Authority announced that Interstate 395 at Howard Street will be closed from 10 a.m. until the parade and other ceremonies end. It also may remain closed during the evening rush hour. Drivers traveling on northbound Interstate 95 should exit at Russell Street (Exit 52) to access downtown. Drivers on southbound I-95 should exit at northbound I-395.
The city Department of Transportation announced that the following roads will be closed starting at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday:
Commerce Street from Fayette to Pratt street
Pratt Street from Paca to Commerce street
Howard Street from Lombard to Conway street
Northbound Interstate 395 north of Conway Street (Use Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to Mulberry Street)
Fayette Street from Gay Street to Guilford Avenue
Baltimore Street from Calvert to Gay street
Water Street from South to Commerce street
Lombard Street from Gay to South street
Calvert Street from Pratt to Lombard street
Light Street northbound from Conway to Pratt street
Light Street southbound from Lombard to Conway street
Charles Street from Conway to Lombard street
Hanover Street from Pratt to Lombard street
Hopkins Place/Sharp Street from Lombard to Conway street
Eutaw Street from Pratt to Lombard street
Camden Street from Russell to Howard street
Guilford Avenue/South Street from Saratoga to Pratt street
Holliday Street from Saratoga to Lexington street
Lexington Street from Calvert to Gay streets.
In addition, the following parking restrictions will be in effect from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday:
Holliday Street from Fayette to Baltimore street
Commerce Street from Baltimore to Pratt street
Pratt Street from Commerce to Howard street
Howard Street from Pratt to Conway street
Guilford Avenue from Saratoga to Fayette street
Lexington Street from Calvert to Frederick street
Frederick Street from Lexington to Fayette street
Saratoga Street from Lexington to Gay street
Gay Street from Fayette to Saratoga street
Fayette Street from Gay to Holliday street (north side only)
Holliday Street from Saratoga to Lexington street
The Maryland Transportation Administration encouraged fans to use the Metro and light rail. Metro riders will depart at the Charles Center station while light rail riders can depart at any downtown station. All stops have a two-block walk to the parade route.
The parade route will have an effect on MTA service downtown. Normal service is expected to resume after the parade.