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Countdown to Chicago Blackhawks championship rally, parade

Friday, June 28, 2013
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The Chicago Blackhawks parade starts at 10:30 a.m. near the United Center Friday, winds through downtown Chicago, and ends with a rally at Grant Park's Hutchinson Field at 11 a.m.

Watch: ABC7's LIVE Parade/Rally coverage starts Friday at 9 a.m.

Thousands of people -- maybe even millions, if the 2010 championship parade is any indicator -- are expected to attend the parade and rally to celebrate the Chicago Blackhawk's 2013 Stanley Cup win. City workers were preparing Thursday for the parade and rally to be held Friday.

Police say fans should watch Friday's parade either on Washington between Desplaines and Wabash or on Columbus between Monroe and Balbo.

Public entrances to the rally at Hutchison Field in Grant Park will be limited to two locations: Jackson and Michigan or Congress and Michigan. No coolers are allowed and large bags or backpacks are strongly discouraged and will be searched. For those who cannot get inside, jumbotrons will be set up outside of the park.

Fencing was going up Thursday in Hutchinson Field, the portable toilets had arrived, and workers were tending to the field, which holds 100,000 people. However, two million people are expected to attend the parade.

Parade details were released on Wednesday, when police warned that anyone who tried to go past the barricades for a closer look at the Stanley Cup or players will be arrested.

Metra will also be offering a special one-day-only $5 unlimited ride pass for fans traveling downtown for the Blackhawks rally. Metra is asking that commuters refrain from bringing bikes or alcohol with them on Friday.

The Chicago White Sox are catching Blackhawks fever as well, offering $15 tickets to Friday's doubleheader against the Cleveland Indians for all fans wearing Blackhawks gear. The first game starts at 4:10 p.m., after the parade and rally, and tickets are only available at the U.S. Cellular Field ticket windows on Friday.

Shortly after the plan for the parade and rally was finalized, the CTA announced changes to its bus and train service to accommodate the Blackhawks parade and rally.

"To accommodate increased crowds, additional service will be provided on all eight rails lines following the morning rush period continuing through midday. In addition, due to street closures, 30 CTA bus routes will be detoured in the downtown area at various times, including the Friday morning rush period," the CTA said in a press release issued Wednesday afternoon.

For more information on all changes to CTA routes and suggested detours, click here.

Alcohol will be prohibited at Friday's festivities.

"The Chicago Police Department is going to have a zero tolerance for alcohol consumption on the public way during this event," Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said on Wednesday. "It's going to be a family-friendly event, and if you're drinking on the street you will be arrested."

Grant Park will open at 8 a.m. Friday. Officials say the same team that put together its NATO plan will be involved in this event. There will be bomb-sniffing dogs and officers in uniform and plainclothes, but no metal detectors. Officials said Wednesday there were no known threats to the event.

On Wednesday night, patrons at theWit Hotel in Chicago's Loop got a look at the Stanley Cup late night after the trophy and Patrick Kane made an appearance in New York City on the David Letterman Show. Kane spoke about the last time he made the rounds with the Stanley Cup in town, in 2010.

"I had it for a day in Chicago, took it to the Jimmy Buffett concert," Kane said.

"Nice of you to get a date," Letterman joked.

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