Philly to Hold Center City Parade for Villanova on Friday
The city is going to throw Villanova a victory parade.
The parade starts Friday at 1 p.m., and will run from 20th and Market to Dilworth Park in Center City. It was first announced in an email from Villanova president Fr. Peter Donohue to students and alumni this morning. There will be a rally at Dilworth Park at the end of the parade.
The route will essentially be a redux of the Center City portion of the Taney Dragons parade held for the Little League team in the summer of 2014. The Wildcats won’t be continuing down Broad Street to be honored at Citizens Bank Park like the Dragons were.
Fr. Donahue said more details would be shared later this week.
Earlier in the day, Mayor Jim Kenney spokeswoman Lauren Hitt said the city was in discussions. “The City of Philadelphia and Villanova University have begun discussions regarding a parade to celebrate Villanova’s NCAA men’s basketball championship,” Hitt said in a release. “Details will be communicated once they are confirmed.”
Some have questioned the need for a parade in Philadelphia. Cost reasons are a sensible and valid objection. It’s not like sports teams need a parade when they win, and the city has plenty of better things it could use the money for. It’s not clear who will pay for the parade and the related expenses (security, cleanup, etc.); more details are forthcoming from Villanova and the city.
Otherwise, the parade makes sense: There are a lot of Villanova fans in Philadelphia, and Philly basketball fans have a 60-plus year history of rooting for all the teams in the Big 5. Plus, there’s really no way to hold a parade in Radnor Township, where Villanova is located. It’s not just that closing down Lancaster Avenue would be a hassle (it would), but that there’s really no great way to move a huge number of people into and out of the area.
There is also a reception at Villanova Stadium for the team around 5 p.m. today. Gates open at 3:30 p.m.
Follow @dhm on Twitter.