ST. LOUIS -- Steve Deal staked his spot at the corner of Market and Broadway streets at 10 p.m. on Friday for the St. Louis Blues Stanley Cup championship parade and rally, which began around noon on Saturday.
The native of Wentzville, Missouri, about 41 miles northwest of St. Louis, was helping his wife, Karen, and friends make sure they had a good place to see the parade, which ended where they stood.
"I'm on 37 hours [of no sleep] now," Deal said. "I'm fine. I've waited 49 years for this parade. I was not going to sleep."
Hundreds of thousands of people lined the parade route that ran on Market Street (from 18th to Broadway) or at the Gateway Arch for the rally to help the Blues celebrate their first Cup since joining the NHL in 1967.
Video: Best moments from the Blues Championship Parade
Elaine Collins of Chesterfield, about 22 miles west of St. Louis, was on Market Street around 7 a.m. on Saturday.
"It's been the most incredible thing ever," said Collins, who was wearing a white Blues jersey from the mid-1990s, which had trombones on the shoulders. "I used to watch the Blues all the way back when they were in the old arena, what we called The Barn. They had incredible players over the years, but nothing like seeing them go from last place January 3rd to winning the Cup. I wouldn't miss this for everything."
Fans cheered, took pictures and interacted with players who jumped out of their cars and trucks, including defensemen Vince Dunn, Robert Bortuzzo and Joel Edmundson.
"I've been a fan since I was 6 years old, and whether good or bad, I'm always a fan and always watching," Beth Ladd of St. Louis said as she waited for forward David Perron to approach the crowd. "This has just been euphoric. I can't even put it into words, so I can't even imagine how they feel."
There was intermittent rain during the first hour of the parade but storms that were expected to hit the city in the afternoon never materialized. John and Susan Kistler of St. Louis weren't going to be thwarted by the weather anyway.
"I told her, I don't care if it's snowing. We're going," John Kistler said. "I've been watching [the Blues] since 1975 when my dad first turned me on to hockey."
It was the first parade and rally to celebrate a sports championship since the St. Louis Cardinals won the World Series in 2011. But Dave Anthes of St. Louis said the Blues celebration was, "a little different."
"The last one for the Cardinals was great," Anthes said. "But it's the first one for the Blues, and the atmosphere here, there's been an anticipation for so long that, for everybody, it's a different feel."
The Blues and their fans waited a long time for this celebration, and they were reveling in it all on Saturday.
"We've always been proud of the Blues, we've always been proud of the Cardinals, but this is the time we can say, 'Yes! We got the Cup!'" Collins said. "It's just awesome."