By Trang Do
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia is expecting anywhere from 50 to 75,000 Villanova fans from outside of the city for Friday’s big parade in honor of the NCAA champion Wildcats.
City officials and the university are working together to make sure the festivities run smoothly.
With classes now cancelled, Villanova’s campus is sure to be empty on Friday. Nova nation is already making plans to be in Philly to show their love to the local champs.
“I think in ’85 it was in Philly and we have to continue the tradition in Philly,” said Villanova freshman Jessica Lantz.
“As long as everyone is there and we get a lot of people to root for us, I think it’ll be a really great time,” added sophomore Kimberly Conlan.
The parade kicks off at 1:00 p.m. at 20th and Market Street and will travel along Market Street to 15th, ending at Dilworth Park.
“Villanova wanted to be here,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “They wanted the parade here and I’m grateful that they wanted to be here.”
It will cost an estimated $22,000. Villanova will foot most of the bill to cover police and EMS staffing and cleanup. The city is throwing in about $6,500 to pay for barricades and a sound system. Mayor Kenney said it’s a sound investment.
“We’ll way recover that in the amount of people coming here and spending money and the amount of national profile the city will get as a result,” he said.
SEPTA is increasing service on the Norristown, Market-Frankford and Broad Street lines, which are how many people are planning to get there.
“I think we’re all going to take the train in on Friday, hopefully we won’t have classes,” Lantz said. “If not, oh well, I guess we’re all going, so I’m really excited.”
If you are planning to come to the parade, SEPTA is probably your best bet. The agency is asking people to buy tokens and passes in advance to avoid long lines Friday.
For those working in the city, the celebration is expected to wrap up around 3 p.m.