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BOSTON READY FOR GIANT PARTY WITH RED SOX

The Red Sox will celebrate their World Series championship with a hometown parade today, and it's expected they'll have plenty of company.

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino estimates that between 3 1/2 million and 5 million people will be drawn to this city of 600,000 to share in the Red Sox's first title since 1918.

Because of the size of the expected crowd and security concerns, the parade has been dubbed a "Rolling Rally." There will be no stops along the route and no formal rally at the end, such as the one in February at City Hall at the culmination of the New England Patriots' Super Bowl parade, which turned violent. The Patriots' parade drew 1.2 million people.

"This will be a world-class rolling rally," Menino said, "a great opportunity for families to come out and celebrate the Red Sox's historic win."

The parade will begin on Boylston Street by Fenway Park, proceed down Cambridge Avenue past City Hall and will take the team, riding on amphibious Duck Tour boats, onto the Charles River for a victory lap on the water after rolling through the city.

"It will give fans an opportunity to salute the players, and the players and the Red Sox organization a chance to salute the fans," said Larry Lucchino, Red Sox president. "It's a two-way street, and we intend to say a loud and passionate, 'Thanks,' to our fans."

The parade has two themes. One, "Worth The Wait," of course alludes to the generations that have passed since the Red Sox's last World Series title in 1918. The other, "We kept the faith, now let's keep the peace," stresses hopes for a calm day of festivities.

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