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Originally published November 5, 2008 at 12:00 AM | Page modified November 5, 2008 at 1:22 PM

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Thousands celebrate in Seattle streets

Crowds of people spilled into the streets of Seattle tonight to celebrate Barack Obama's presidential win.

Video | Seattle crowd celebrates Obama's victory

Crowds of people spilled into the streets of Seattle tonight to celebrate Barack Obama's presidential win.

At 1st Avenue and Pike Street, a crowd of about 300 at about 10 p.m. grew to about 800 within an hour. Seattle police directed traffic around the crowds of people chanting "Yes we can" and waving signs. An impromptu band formed with several drummers and a saxophone player, and at one point, even King County Executive Ron Sims joined the drummers and led the crowd in cheers.

The group eventually marched toward the Central District.

In Capitol Hill, an estimated crowd of 4,000 people locked Broadway between Pike and Pine, with a similar party atmosphere.

People were spraying beer on each other, hugging, taking pictures, waving American flags and setting off fireworks.

Alita Laws, 25, and Christine Thalls, 23, bought two bottles of champagne at the nearby QFC, which was quickly running out of bottles.

"I don't like politics but I feel he is a candidate who isn't really a politician," Thalls said of Obama.

Chad Wilson, 38, a New York transplant who has lived in Seattle for 11 years, was wearing his "Yes we can" sweat shirt.

"I think this is the biggest moment that I've seen in my lifetime," he said. "I needed to be out celebrating with people."

Charles Heaney, 62, also a NY transplant who has lived in Seattle for 30 years, said he's "never seen this kind of reaction to any presidential election.

"This is real history."

There have been no reported incidents of violence. A few drunken spectators taunted the police, but officers ignored them.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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