The Miami Heat’s victory lap isn’t over yet.
The public celebration in honor of the new NBA champs is scheduled for 11 a.m. Monday in downtown Miami, where thousands of fans are expected to cheer, wave, and bang pots and pans to thank the Big Three and their supporting cast.
But rain may dampen the street party. The National Weather Service puts the chance of showers at more than 50 percent.
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“If it rains, the parade will continue, but if we have thunder and lightning, our recommendation to the Miami Heat is to stop the parade until the bad weather passes,” said Miami Fire Rescue Lt. Ignatius Carroll.
On the bright side, overcast skies could bring relief from the typical 80-degree plus noontime temperatures and help prevent heat exhaustion among fans. Carroll said some 50 paramedics on scooters, foot and rescue units will be along the route. The department is encouraging fans to stay hydrated and bring their own drinks to the event.
For their fans, the Miami Heat is also proving free water stations set up along the way which will be manned by the fire department.
“During the 2006 parade celebrate the Heat’s last championship win, we handled 90 calls, “ Carroll said. “We don’t want to see that this year. We want people to come out and have a good time.”
The parade route starts at Southeast Eighth Street and Second Avenue, near Mary Brickell Village; it then heads east on Eighth, then north on Brickell Avenue, across the bridge and then east and north on Biscayne Boulevard to end in front of the AmericanAirlines Arena.
Traffic on Eighth Street will be closed starting at 10:30 a.m., Miami police said. There will be intermittent closures along the way. There are more than 3,000 metal barricades lining the route to keep fans back.
The parade is scheduled to end about 90 minutes later on the steps of the arena where a sold-out love fest for ticket-holders will be staged inside.
WHO’LL BE THERE?
Details of the show have been kept under wraps. Some local celebrities and dignitaries may take part. Other who might appear are Julia Dale, the 11-year-old from Broward girl who sang the national anthem at the last two homes games of the NBA Finals. Team owner Micky Arison has called her “a good luck charm.”
Fans are advised to set up early along the nearly two-mile route, and arrive via Metromover or Metrorail, which are expanding service to handle the parade traffic.
Businesses along the parade route on Sunday were preparing for what could be a cash mob.
Pizza Rustica manager Juan Carlos Torres said his Brickell business is preparing the Heat fan invasion.
“We’re making twice the amount of pizzas on Monday,” Torres said. “It’s going to be a very good day.” The eatery at 500 Brickell Ave. will open for the day at 6 a.m.
A company that rents and sells electric bicycles, mostly to tourists, is planning on taking advantage of the crowds on the streets Monday morning. Wheels2Go employee Patti Englert said she and some other co-workers will ride the bikes by the parade route to get more publicity.
South Florida Dunkin’ Donuts will make the parade a little sweeter by offering Heat-inspired doughnuts for one day only. They’ll be heart-shaped, with the word “Heat” and red, chocolate and white icing on them.
For the Heat , the parade comes after a weekend-long party that started Thursday night when they became the NBA 2012 champions.
“Let’s go, Heat!” was the weekend’s popular phrase, on the radio and on the street. Monday morning, it will continue to ring out on the streets of downtown. Since the city planned a parade six years ago for the first national title, officials know to expect hundreds of thousands of fans to cheer on the players that brought the title back last week.
Here’s what you need to know if attending the parade:
Miami Herald Staff Writer Luisa Yanez contributed to this report.