BOSTON - Thousands of New England Patriots fans, most wearing several layers of clothing, hit the streets of Boston on Wednesday to celebrate their team's Super Bowl victory with a downtown parade after two massive snowstorms.
Whitney Gikis, 27, a house painter from Westminster, Massachusetts, said there was no way the bone-chilling weather would keep him from celebrating the team's fourth Super Bowl victory.
"I love the Patriots. I'm ready for this. I was born ready for this," Gikis said.
Early-morning temperatures dropped to 6 degrees Fahrenheit (-14 degrees Celsius). Fans packed into subway cars and commuter trains and arrived in the city in high spirits, though a little less mobile for their layers of warm clothing and Patriots jerseys.
The parade, held in World War II-era amphibious trucks known as "duck boats," proceeded amid snowdrifts up to 6 feet (1.8 meter) high in places after Boston received more than 40 inches (1 meter) of accumulation over the past week.
Mayor Marty Walsh had initially scheduled the parade for Tuesday, but he pushed it back until 11 a.m. Wednesday because of Monday's heavy snowfall.
He warned paradegoers not to climb on snowbanks to try to get a closer look at players, including star quarterback Tom Brady and Malcolm Butler, the rookie whose interception in the final seconds sealed Sunday's victory over the Seattle Seahawks.
"I'm asking you not to climb on snowbanks ... it's very dangerous," Walsh told reporters, adding that he was convinced the parade could be held safely despite the snow.
The parade began at Prudential Tower and proceeded to City Hall, but the post-parade City Hall rally, held after previous victory parades, was canceled because of the cold temperatures and snow.
Debbie Provencher, 52, and her family left their home in Merrimack, New Hampshire, at 6 a.m. to get a good spot near the start of the parade. She said she was waiting to see "our hero Butler," whose late-game heroics has made him a household name in New England.
Thanks partly to Butler, who was used sparingly during the regular season, Patriots fans are calling Sunday night's game one of the best Super Bowls in history. The team clinched its fourth National Football League championship after a heart-stopping sequence of plays in the game's final minutes.
"I'm excited to see them and thank them," Provencher said.