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Scenes from the Phillies’ victory celebration

The throngs were so overwhelming that fans climbed trees and lightposts to catch a glimpse of their favorite players passing by. The anticipation was so intense that the crowds let loose a giant roar as a Philadelphia Parking Authority tow truck went down the parade route before the procession began. And the screaming was so relentless that one clever street vendor sold cough drops.

The throngs were so overwhelming that fans climbed trees and lightposts to catch a glimpse of their favorite players passing by. The anticipation was so intense that the crowds let loose a giant roar as a Philadelphia Parking Authority tow truck went down the parade route before the procession began. And the screaming was so relentless that one clever street vendor sold cough drops.

It was a dream-come-true for Phillies fans, each of whom had a story to tell.

At 11 a.m., Sylvia Boodis, 85, was making surprisingly fast progress with her walker, cutting through the crowd that grew thicker by the minute on 19th Street.

She'd just left the beauty shop and was going back to her home in Kennedy House, when a shirtless fan stumbled into her path.

"He said 'Hello!' And I said, 'Oh boy. Are you loaded!'"

A few steps further, however, she encountered John Kane, a 28-year-old mortgage consultant from Media. Seeing that Boodis was having trouble getting her walker onto the sidewalk, he helped her negotiate the curb.

"I love Philadelphia," she said. "I LOVE Philadelphia."

- Melissa Dribben

With an hour to go before the parade, a police officer stopped on Market Street to fix his bicycle's flat tire. A fan caught sight of his fetching black t-shirt with "Philadelphia Police Narcotics Strike Force" on the back.

"I'll fix your tire for you if you give me that shirt!" yelled Pat Flynn, 32, a furniture refinisher from Marlton.

The officer ignored him.

"Twenty bucks for the narc shirt!!" Flynn called out again. This time louder.

He persisted until finally, the officer walked over to Flynn, smiled and whispered a phone number.

"Call there," the officer said.

Already, Flynn's day was complete.

- Melissa Dribben

Evan Zolinsky is only 16, but the best day he will ever have in his life, he was sure, had already come.

"Ever since I was born, this was the only thing I wanted," said Zolinsky, of Limerick, Montgomery County. "Finally it comes."

For the parade, Zolinksy painted his face red and white, and gave himself a mohawk - a clever way, he thought, to mock Tampa Bay fans and players who had embraced the Mohawk for their playoff run.

To make sure he got a good position – "first row, baby!" – he arrived at 7 a.m. with his friend Carl Heimer. Of course they cut school.

"The city deserves this more than any other city in the country, besides maybe Cleveland," he said. "It's been 25 years, 9,280 days of waiting."

- Patrick Kerkstra

Mike Case is a 55-year-old math teacher and baseball coach at Preston High School, a little town south of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

He has never lived in Philadelphia. He has no relatives here.

So what was he doing in a prime spot at 20th and Market with his two daughters, waiting as ardently as the rest of the fans for the start of the parade?

"I've been a fan since 1961," said Case.

And why?

"I had a babysitter who had a cousin who was Don Demeter, who played outfield for the Phillies."

- Melissa Dribben

The sun grazed the edges of the city's skyscraper canyon. Confetti blew out of a machine on the back end of the Phillies' trucks, fluttering into the wind and raining down on the crowd.

Christian and Romolo Leomporra aimed their cameras at the passing baseball gods and furiously recorded. Pitcher Jamie Moyer waved to the brothers as if he knew them. And Jayson Werth (duly noted by the women in the crowd to be knock-out handsome in person) held his own camera up and took picture of the adoring crowd.

"For these World Series champions to be looking at us the way we're looking at them," said Christian, "is unbelievable."

- Melissa Dribben

From street level, you could only see half the players -- those facing your side of Broad Street. And the players were mixed in with non players, and wives, and kids and strangers. It was hard to tell who was who, even for fans familiar with the players.

"I didn't see Cole. I didn't see Victorino," said a disappointed Laura McDermott, 20, of Upper Darby. "I'm really upset."

Tashai Rowe, 23, of Yeadon, also wanted most of all to see Victorino, but either he was on the other side of the floats, or lost in the crowd.

"I'm disappointed," she said.

Charlie Brown, one of the 16 horses enlisted by the state police to keep the crowds under control, blinked his enormous brown eyes and stamped his authoritative hoof.

Corporal Wad Crimbring looked out over the restless sea of red from astride the gorgeous animal.

"The view from up here," he observed, "is better than down there."

-Melissa Dribben

Elvis came to the parade, or at least a lifesize elvis cutout. He was standing against the rope line near Broad and Morris, in front of the home of Lisa and David Gonzales. "Elvis is old school," said Lisa Gonzales. "He's wearing a Mike Schmidt jersey."

He was also wearing Phillies boxers over his gold lamet jump suit.

A line was starting to form around the corner at McGillin's Olde Ale House around the block and a couple was setting up a Weber grill to sell chicken shishkabob in the alley nearby.

Three generations of Cirellis were there: Tony Cirelli, 65, the patriarch from the far Northeast; his daughter and granddaughter, Carla Wynn, 39 and Madeline Wynn, 2, from Huntingdon Valley; and his son, Army Private First Class Dante Cirelli, stationed at Fort Drum, N.Y.

From doubleheaders at Connie Mack Stadium, to Sunday games at the Vet with his three kids, to Cooperstown to help usher Richie Ashburn and Mike Schmidt into the baseball Hall of Fame in '95, Tony's been faithful. And so the family gathered with him to share the occasion, with Madeline fresh from her preschool Halloween parade, wearing her kitty-cat costume under warmer clothes.

Fate had brought Dante there. His unit had been sent on two-week leave just in time for the World Series. In December, he's going to Afghanistan and will miss Christmas with his family.

"This is better than Christmas," Dante said. "I see Christmas every year."

- Jeff Shields

Betul Erke, 77, may be Ankra, Turkey's biggest Phillies fan. She fell in love with the team after seeing her first baseball game four years ago and now catches as many as she can whenever she visits her daughter and son-in-law in Allentown.

In fact, she's so devoted that she refused to go back to Turkey as scheduled last Wednesday.

"She said 'I'm not going to miss this' so she stayed longer," said her daughter, Yesim Erke-Magent, 47, who was with her mother, husband, Mike Magent and their Bichon frise, Cuddles, on Market Street waiting for the parade to begin.

Erke even has a favorite player, Carlos Ruiz, though Shane Victorino isn't far behind. The family only made it to one game at Citizens Bank Ballpark this summer but Erke and her son-in-law root for the hometeam whenever they are on TV.

Two years ago they had tickets to a game but Erke-Magent got sick so her mother and husband went without her, stopping first for cheesesteaks at Leo's in Folcroft, a tradition.

"She loves them," Erke-Magent said, interpreting for her mother who speaks only a little English.

To makes sure they didn't miss the parade, the family stayed at the Sheraton last night and got to Market Street at 10 a.m., where Erke was sitting with a placid Cuddles on her lap.

Erke told her daughter she was sure the Phils were going to win the championships this year.

How did she know?

"She used an old superstition," said her daughter. "She turned her slippers upside down so the other team will have bad luck."

- Kathy Boccella

Jonathan Grzybowski, 19, skipped all his classes at Camden County College to come to the parade. He corrupted his girlfriend, Lynda Pagan, and brought her along. "We went to school and sat in the parking lot and thought to ourselves, "it's not worth it. We've got ot to go the parade."

"My duty as a citizen is to come down to the parade," Grzybowski said. "It may not happen again in my lifetime."