SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Orange-and-black clad hordes flooded the streets of San Francisco on Wednesday for a Halloween Day ticker-tape parade celebrating the 2012 World Series champion Giants.
More than an hour before the start of the parade, thousands of people decked out in Giants gear or Halloween costumes stood 20 deep behind barriers along Market Street.
Kevin Yarbrough stood in a giant white panda costume in tribute to Giants slugger Pablo Sandoval, whose nickname is the “Panda.”
The Richmond resident had gotten up early to put in some time at work before getting to the parade route around 7:30 a.m.
“You’ve got to come out and celebrate like this. You meet a whole new family, make new friends, and it really lets the community celebrate in a positive way,” he said.
Fans also gathered at City Hall, where the team will address the crowd after the parade.
Vendors got an early start as well, hawking everything from pennants to lawn chairs from makeshift sidewalk stands amid the crush of the morning commute.
Numerous commuter trains were delayed as revelers crammed onboard, and some travelers were turned away from ferry service from Marin County.
With the victory parade coinciding with the spooky holiday, costumed masses were expected to bring an even more festive feel to what city officials stressed will be a family friendly, alcohol-free event.
“This was such a team effort to win the World Series, so we decided we’d get our city team together to make sure we have a great celebration,” Mayor Ed Lee said Tuesday as he stood with police, fire, transportation and other officials at City Hall.
After the Giants won the Series in 2010, hundreds of thousands of revelers — from school-age children to longtime fans who had waited decades for a championship — crammed into downtown to cheer on their heroes.
This year’s parade route is different than it was in 2010, when a vehicle carrying the “Say Hey Kid” Willie Mays led players and coaches in open-air buses designed to look like cable cars down the same route that Mays’ Giants took in 1958 after relocating from New York.
That route started at Montgomery Street in the Financial District and turned onto Market Street. The 2012 edition will begin at the foot of Market near San Francisco Bay and cover about 1 1/2 miles to City Hall.
Each player will have an open-top vehicle, so fans will get a view from all sides.
San Francisco police Chief Greg Suhr said the parade will last about two hours. He warned people not to try to drive into the area during the day.
The city spent Monday cleaning up after a rowdy celebration Sunday night turned violent in some neighborhoods and police arrested three dozen people. Bonfires of trash were lit in several intersections, and a $700,000 public transit bus was torched.
The World Series victory parade in 2010 occurred with little incident, and officials said they expect a peaceful encore Wednesday.
Given the anticipated flood of people, officials increased public transportation during the parade.
San Francisco’s subway continued to run through all stations along the parade route, Bay Area Rapid Transit commuter trains will run at rush hour levels all day; and ferries will be running special service throughout the festivities.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.)