A Mad, Happy November Night; (1) Pride of America: Michelle Obama and Jill Biden, Wife of Vice President-Elect Joe Biden, Take to the Stage to Greet a Delirious Crowd in Grant Park as Hundreds of Thousands of People Celebrate on the Streets of Chicago (2) Party Time: Democrats Cheer and Punch the Air in Grant Park as Barack Obama Notches Up Victory after Victory

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CHICAGO became the biggest open-air party in the world today as people flooded the streets to celebrate.

Hundreds of thousands of Americans streamed into the avenues, parks, hotels and bars, filling the air with cheers as Barack Obama notched up victory after victory.

They held hands, hugged each other and danced with joy while television sets and giant screens showed the votes piling up.

"Yes we did! Yes we did!" chanted groups of door-knockers, updating their campaign slogan Yes We Can.

At the heart of the partying was Grant Park, which last saw this kind of hysteria when a Papal Mass was held in 1979.

Stars such as Brad Pitt and Oprah Winfrey could be glimpsed in a sea of 125,000 inside the park, all waiting for the president-elect to give his first speech. When the park was deemed full, just as many packed along Michigan Avenue and squeezed around TVs in hotel foyers.

"This is absolutely historic, unbelievable, incredible, for America, for the whole world," said Atukwe Newell, 30.

In the true spirit of free enterprise, Obama-Biden car stickers that were being given away free a day ago were being sold in the street for $5 each. Tshirts with the legend "Grant Park 08 I was there" were selling like hot cakes.

"Jeez, they are calling Pennsylvania already it must be big," said a shirt vendor, his ear pressed to a radio.

No alcohol was allowed in the park but people were getting drunk on joy. "It's just about the most exciting thing in my lifetime," said Winfrey. …


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