by: Alison Grande Updated:
SEATTLE - Seattle is preparing to throw one of the biggest celebrations in its history. On Wednesday, the 12th man will have a chance to see coach Pete Carroll and the Seahawks hoist the Vince Lombardi trophy in person during a parade through downtown Seattle.
It will start at 11 a.m. just south of Seattle Center at Denny Way. The team, with Blue Thunder, the Sea Gals, Mayor Ed Murray, King County Executive Dow Constantine and Gov. Jay Inslee, will drive down Fourth Avenue and finish at the north entrance of CenturyLink Field for a rally.
On Tuesday, Seahawks season ticket holders received an email saying they could print tickets (free) for the rally immediately and only had until noon Tuesday to do so. Seating at Safeco Field will be general admission with the field's gates opening at 10:30 a.m.
Carroll said Monday morning that he thinks it should be a holiday. "There's no fan base that deserves this more," he said. "Nobody's worked harder in supporting their team with more passion and love and spirit than ours. So - to go back and, yeah let's shut down the darn schools. Let's shut the businesses down. Let's have a darn celebration."
But it's not that easy. The Seattle City Council voted to name this Wednesday Seattle Seahawks Day, but officials with the mayor's office said anything more than that is not in the works.
Seattle Public Schools will not close. Neither will Bellevue, Renton, or Lake Washington school districts, or O'Dea High School in Seattle.
"Someone made a petition and he's been trying to get people to sign it so we can get the day off of school," O'Dea sophomore Jake Stein said. But Stein is in luck. His mother is a Hawks fan. "I would say -- just go," mother Jacqueline Stein said. "Go to the parade. Don't worry about school." Two schools in Seattle are closing so students can attend: Kennedy High School in Burien and Seattle Prep.
People like Kody Granger said they're taking the day off work for the parade. "I think it's a one in a lifetime thing," Granger said. "You either gotta use your sick days or your vacation days." Granger's boss is a Seahawks fan who had already let employees take off Monday to recover from the Super Bowl. "He texted me this morning and said, 'Hey, we're going to take Wednesday off too, come up here as a company, celebrate the parade,'" Granger said.
Businesses along the parade route are hoping to cash in. “It’s going to be crazy. It’s going to be good for business, but it’s going to be crazy,” said Alex Garrett, who works at the Five Point Café. The Fishcake Factory on 4th Avenue is hoping the parade will deliver some customers. The restaurant that’s been open for 18 months plans to cater to the crowd. We’re going to have some easy to handle food. Maybe some curry, some fried rice,“ said Fabian Santana, manager of Fishcake Factory.
There is some concern about the crowd getting out of hand. Monday night Seattle police said the department is still in the planning stages for the event. Alex Garrett, Five Point Café, hopes the crowds will cooperate. “I hope our city can appreciate the Seahawks and leave our city alone,” added Garrett.
As for transportation, King County Metro is telling people to get downtown early and expect a lot of gridlock. Fourth Avenue will be closed and buses that run down or cross Fourth Avenue between South Royal Brougham Way and Seattle Center will be rerouted. They will be adding 50 Metro buses. Sound Transit is adding a Sounder Train run from Tacoma. Nearly all transit service running through the downtown area is expected to be affected by altered routes or delayed. Because surface streets will be packed, they recommend using the bus tunnel. Parking is expected to be hard to find. Small lots were already upping their prices Tuesday night. The city is asking people who plan to drive downtown, to carpool and to park outside of the downtown core.
Because 200,000 to 500,000 people are expected to attend the parade, public transportation is recommended. Find options here.
KIRO 7 coverage on TV and online will begin at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at this link.