Nova Nation turns out in force for Victory Parade

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Saturday, April 9, 2016
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The parade drew thousands of fans from across the region.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- After days of anticipation and building excitement, the Villanova Championship Victory Parade went off without a hitch in Center City Philadelphia.

The parade, which celebrated the Villanova Wildcats' historic NCAA Championship victory and drew thousands of fans from across the region, stepped off from 20th and Market streets in Center City at 1 p.m.

PHOTOS: The Villanova Championship Victory Parade

The men's basketball team and coaching staff, as well as Villanova University's cheerleaders and band, all took part.

The procession also included the Cardinal O'Hara High School marching band, and members of the 1985 National Champion Wildcat team.

The stars of the parade, though, were the 2016 champs, who rode atop a double-decker bus and took turns hoisting the NCAA trophy over their heads.

VIDEO: Wildcats make their way down Market St.

The parade headed east toward Philadelphia City Hall, where a huge crowd gathered for a victory rally at Dilworth Park.

Large crowds began gathering Friday morning, and also along the Market Street parade route.

VIDEO: Fans of all ages celebrating at the parade

Those crowds included fans of all ages, and from all walks of life.

They also included the parents of the championship game's MVP, Ryan Arcidiacono. Joe and Patti Arcidiacono talked to Action News about how proud they are of their son and their Villanova roots.

VIDEO: Arcidiacono family talk about Villanova roots

At the rally, the crowd heard from Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. Mike Stack, who is Villanova alumnus, and Villanova's president, Father Peter Donohue.

VIDEO: Father Donohue thanks Nova Nation

Then the 2016 team arrived, each introduced individually by Assistant Head Coach Baker Dunleavy.

VIDEO: 2016 Villanova Wildcats introduced at rally

And those in attendance got a chance to hear from Wright, who led the crowd in a rousing response chant of "Nova... Nation!" then thanked the players, their parents and their fans for an historic season.

VIDEO: Coach Jay Wright leads Philly in 'Nova Nation chant

Wright then introduced several players, including Arcidiacono, Daniel Ochefu and Kris Jenkins, who addressed the crowd of thousands.

The rally concluded with a video showing the dramatic, buzzer-beating winning basket from Monday's championship game against North Carolina - and a loud cheer, accompanied by streamers and confetti, from the crowd.

VIDEO: Ryan Arcidiacono talks to Nova Nation

VIDEO: Kris Jenkins speaks at the Villanova Victory Parade

VIDEO: Daniel Ochefu speaks at the Villanova Victory Parade