HOUSTON - Nearly one million people lined the streets of downtown Houston on Friday to celebrate the Astros’ World Series championship.
Hours before the party started, fans were finding their spot along the nearly two-mile-long parade route that started and ended at Smith and Lamar streets.
Just before 2 p.m., the victorious Astros climbed aboard Houston Fire Department trucks and were driven through the streets being showered with confetti, as adoring fans decked in orange and blue cheered on their hometown team.
Some fans said they just wanted to show their appreciation for the team. Others said they wanted to celebrate not just the team's win but also the inspiration and uplifting spirit it brought to Houston after the devastation of Hurricane Harvey.
The parade culminated with a celebration at Houston City Hall, where the team thanked Houstonians for their support.
Astros pitcher Dallas Keuchel poked a little fun at fellow pitcher Justin Verlander, who didn't attend the festivities.
"Show me how much Justin Verlander means to this team," Keuchel said as he recorded video of the crowd on his cellphone.
Astros outfielder and the World Series' most valuable player echoed a sentiment that was stiched on the team's jerseys during their games -- Houston Strong.
"The second we stepped foot on the field this year, we wanted to do something for everybody here, and it's about time we brought something home for Houston," said Astros outfielder and World Series MVP George Springer. "I want everyone to celebrate and enjoy it. Houston, we have a championship team and no one can take that from us."
Astros shortstop Carlos Correa hoisted the Commissioner's Trophy into the air as confetti rained onto the stage.
Josh Reddick, wielding a WWE championship belt emblazoned with the Astros logo, took the mic and fired up the crowd, who chanted 'Woo!'
"Houston, we don't have a problem. We have a championship!" Reddick said.
“We are champions,” shouted Astros second baseman Jose Altuve at the end of the event.
Both Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott proclaimed Friday as Houston Astros Day.
Turner said Friday’s parade was the largest the city has ever seen. The mayor's office said Houston police estimate there were between 750,000 and 1 million people attending the festivities.
Police still had traffic blocked on many streets around City Hall as fans filtered out and headed home.
CLEANUP WAS QUICK
When you pack 750,000 to 1 million people into downtown Houston for a party, you'll have a Texas-sized cleanup. A ton of confetti fell from 16 buildings and shot out of four cannons. That left a colorful blanket behind.
The cleanup happened quickly. Even before everyone made it out of downtown, crews took apart the stage, tore down the bleachers and swept up the trash.
A party like this is rare. Families made memories.
"It meant a lot, really," Astros fan Bernard Estrada said, "Actually this is something that I've been waiting for a long time here in Houston. (My kids are) too young to actually know that it's happened at a young age."
Friday, the best baseball team in the world made its way through the streets of the greatest city in the world. After the floods, Houston knows how to clean up. The mess left behind after the parade was nothing. The memories endure.
"Just come out here, have fun with my family. And just, like, have a great time," Estrada said.
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