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Five million attend Chicago Cubs' parade

Associated Press Associated Press 4/11/2016 Carla K Johnson and Caryn Rousseau

Chicago Cubs catcher David Ross posed for a selfie Friday in front of a multitude of roaring fans in the city's Grant Park during a rally honouring the club's first World Series title in 108 years.

City officials said an estimated five million people attended the celebration - a count that included everyone who lined the parade route and the crowd at Grant Park.

Ross and the other players sang 'Go Cubs Go' from the stage along with the blissed-out crowd. "It happened, baby. It happened!" proclaimed infielder Anthony Rizzo to adoring cheers.

Team manager Joe Maddon - wearing a stocking cap, sunglasses and a jersey over a "We didn't suck" t-shirt - looked out over a sea of blue.

"Welcome to Cubstock 2016!" Maddon said.

"This is an incredible moment for all of us. Never have I experienced anything like Wrigley Field on a nightly basis. ... I want to congratulate you fans also. Thank you for being so patient."

The victory party, which included a parade earlier in the day, is new territory for long-suffering fans of the Cubs, who hadn't won a World Series title in more than a century before their game seven, extra-inning thriller Wednesday night in Cleveland.

The last time the Cubs even reached the Autumn Classic was in 1945.

Before the rally, throngs of young and old blue-clad fans roared as the motorcade of open-roofed buses carrying the players cruised along Lake Shore Drive.

The mood was jubilant, bolstered by an unseasonably warm and sunny November day and clear blue skies.

Atop the double-decker buses, some Cubs players posed together for photographs, while others held their children and sat with their families.

Fans packed morning commuter trains, causing delays despite increased service and capacity, to get downtown and find a viewing spot before the festivities began.

The parade wound through downtown and ended roughly seven miles south in Grant Park, where the rally started in the early afternoon.

The city also dyed the Chicago River a bright shade of blue to match the Cubs' colours, repurposing a decades-long tradition of dying the river green on St Patrick's Day.

Friday was already a scheduled day off for Chicago Public Schools and Illinois governor Bruce Rauner declared Friday as 'World Champion Chicago Cubs Day' statewide.

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