By Frank Pingue
(Reuters) - Showered with confetti and cheered by screaming fans, the Cubs wound their way through downtown Chicago on open-topped buses on Friday to celebrate the team's first World Series victory in 108 years.
Hundreds of thousands of long-suffering fans skipped work and school to line the streets while the Chicago River that flows through the city was dyed Cubs blue in honor of the newly-crowned Major League Baseball champions.
The parade left Wrigley Field under clear blue skies and players took turns holding up the glittering World Series trophy as the procession made its way south through miles of downtown streets before ending at Grant Park where a free rally was held.
Members of the Cubs stood on the upper level of red double-decker buses that were adorned with banners that read "World Series champions" and followed a police escort.
Supporters that crammed the route held signs that read, "World Champs" while others held white flags with a blue 'W' on it that is a Cubs tradition signifying victory.
The city's streets, many of which were closed by 4 AM CDT (0900 GMT), were left covered in red, white and blue confetti that was shot from cannons along the parade route.
The Cubs vanquished generations of futility when they beat the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday in a thrilling finale to MLB's best-of-seven championship series.
The city of Chicago said it expected about 5 million people at the World Series celebration, more than double the number at a similar event in 2015 when the National Hockey League's Chicago Blackhawks won their third Stanley Cup in six years.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Steve Keating)