Turns out there is crying in baseball.
Shouting too, along with screaming, cheering, high-fiving, fist-pumping, singing, clapping and sign-waving by Cubs fans as far as the eye could see on Friday for a massive celebration in Chicago honoring the World Series champs.
Jubilant parade-goers decked out in Cubs gear spanned every generation from infants to retirees and came from all walks of life for a parade starting at Wrigley Field and ending with a rally in Grant Park in downtown Chicago.
Spotted in the massive sea of humanity were school kids toting backpacks, workers taking a break, lucky employees whose businesses closed for the day, entire families savoring the moment together and people from far-flung states who traveled hours to join in the hoopla.
“I went to my first game when I was 5 and I’ve been going ever since!” diehard Cubs fan Rich Lansu, 70, tells PEOPLE. “It’s great to be surrounded by fellow fans.”
They hooted and cheered as Cubs players rolled by in a phalanx of open-topped double-decker buses, waving to the crowd and showing off their championship trophy en route to a noontime rally.
The city even dyed the Chicago River a shade of Cubbie blue to honor the team!
Chicago Public Schools students coincidentally had a previously scheduled day off and other schools in the region cancelled classes — but plenty of other revelers ditched their classes, jobs, doctor’s appointments and meetings just to be part of the historic day.
One mom said she had no problem letting her younger kids miss school so they could attend the parade but had been wary about her 16-year-old missing an important physics lesson. But it ended up there was no need for concern.
“She texted from school telling me not to worry because they will have a substitute teacher,” Meghan Haddad of Palatine, Illinois, told PEOPLE. “Her physics teacher is going to the rally.”
A White Sox devotee even came out for the big event to support her Cubbie husband.
“For me, watching his devotion to the team is enough,” says Betty Almaguer of her 41-year-old husband Antonio.
“It’s a beloved team,” says Antonio. “I’m here to support them. I never thought it would happen. It’s surreal.”
On Thursday, mayor Rahm Emanuel said the parade was going to to be so epic that it would “stand the test of time.”
“It will be a parade that 108 years have waited for. It will be a parade and a celebration that all of Chicago for 108 years in their mind’s eye, have been envisioning. We’re going to make it a reality in the city of Chicago,” he told the Chicago Tribune.
And, he was right. This is a day and a parade that Chicagoans will not soon forget.