Waves of green met the red and blue as Penn students migrated away from campus this morning to attend the citywide Eagles’ super bowl parade. After several student petitions, Penn suspended normal University operations on Thursday, giving most of the Penn community a chance to join the historic celebration.
While a significant portion of the Penn community headed north to Center City, campus was affected in a variety of ways — from unusual peaks at Wawa to particularly quiet campus buildings.
Ashley Smith, general manager at Wawa on 38th and Spruce, said students were heading to the parade as early as 6 a.m. From well before dawn, the already busy store was completely jam-packed.
“This morning we were packed — there were Eagles fans everywhere,” she said.
As the number of customers decreased during the day, some of the employees had to relocate to work at stores closer to the parade, Smith said.
Michael Gummery, one of the few employees working today at the Penn bookstore, said the store was less busy than usual around noon, describing the atmosphere as “kind of quiet” with “not much happening.”
He said he would have liked to go to the parade himself to see the “spectacle of it,” but since his work schedule for today was made over a week ago, there was no way he could have predicted the Eagles win and the date of the parade.
“A couple of employees did pull out today,” he said, “but we have to keep the store open since they decided to keep the store open today.”
By 2 p.m., many students seemed to have left the parade early to continue celebrating on campus.
Stores that had previously remained relatively mellow saw an upsurge of students, who were returning from the day's festivities, rush in. Restaurants began to see large crowds especially since popular dining locations on campus such as Houston Hall and Frontera were closed for the day.
Shake Shack handed out free scoops of custard at their 32nd and Chestnut location and was one of the busiest locations on campus. A line extended around the restaurant and students found themselves standing in the cold for up to 10 minutes for the free food.
Drexel students Carley Kandler and Amanda Kriston were part of the long line waiting outside Shake Shack. They said they left the parade early because they “couldn’t get a good view from where they were and were trying to use a bathroom."
Nicole Jacqueline, an avid Eagles fan also waiting in line, said she chose to leave early and come to Shake Shack specifically because she heard about the free custard from her friends.
Further west, Metropolitan Cafe on 40th and Walnut streets was also crowded by 2 p.m., and Dunkin Donuts on 36th and Walnut streets seemed understaffed with only two people serving a long line of customers.
"[It] definitely was one of the busiest days of the year earlier today,” said General Manager of Dunkin Donuts Fatima Mahouao. “It was crazy busy but we were fine."
Mahouao added that the store was the busiest around 3:30 p.m., but the crowd died down slightly after.
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