LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Tickets for the Muhammad Ali public memorial service in Downtown Louisville on Friday are all gone. 

WDRB's Maura Sirianni talked to people who started lining up overnight.

It was a pleasant surprise for crowds this morning: the Yum! Center box office opened two hours earlier than expected. All of the tickets were gone in just 55 minutes.

There were lots of smiles and cheers -- as well as chants of "Ali!" -- outside the Yum! Center, Wednesday, as 15,000 tickets for the service were snatched up in less than one hour.

"I'm just glad to be this close," said Andre Guess. "Hopefully, we'll get tickets when we get up there."

Tickets were set to be released at 10 a.m., but long lines and crowds prompted officials to open the box office early. Still, for many, it was a long morning. Some, even traveling across the country.

"We're from Santa Clara, California," said Ronnie Demer. "We arrived around 3:30 this morning." 

Muhammad Ali has been Demer's hero, since he was just 11 years old. He even named his son, Marcellus, in honor of the larger-than-life Champ.

"This is my son's birth certificate, Marcellus Armini Demer," he said. "Muhammad Ali's original birth name was Cassius Marcellus Clay, and when we met him 16 years ago, I asked him if he would autograph the back, and he did."

Each person had their own personal reason for wanting to attend the service, with eager crowds even camping out on the sidewalk, rushing onto Yum! Center property early, to make sure they'd get a ticket.

"A big crowd of people just stampeded up to the left side of the Yum! Center, pushing and shoving," said Charai Anderson. "Nobody got hurt, but pushing and shoving -- it was crazy."

Security staff and LMPD officers worked to control the crowd, before the line would grow, eventually wrapping around the building.

After the chaos was over, some say they actually made some new friends in that long line.

"Even though the king is gone, he's bringing peace and unity throughout," said Lisa Thurman. "I've met some wonderful people and just having a ball down here."

Seating is limited, and tickets were first-come, first-serve. Many attending say they wouldn't miss this for the world.

"We are Louisville natives and it's history," Charai Anderson said. "I just want to be a part of history."

The doors to the Yum! Center will open at 11:30 on Friday.

Seating is limited and this event is first come, first serve.

The public memorial service is expected to draw thousands.

President Obama will not attend the memorial, but White House senior advisor Valerie Jarrett will represent him at the service. The president can't attend because he needs to stay in Washington, D. C. to attend his daughter's high school graduation.

Parking for the memorial:

Anyone who has a ticket to the funeral at the Yum! Center can park for free at the Kentucky Exposition Center beginning at 7:30 a.m. on Friday. Shuttle service will be provided for people with tickets between the Kentucky Exposition Center and the KFC Yum! Center. Shuttle service starts at 8:30 a.m.

People with tickets can also take TARC for free to get to the KFC Yum! Center. On Friday, there will be traffic control for the procession, as well as security at Cave Hill Cemetery and at the KFC Yum! Center.

The Visitors Bureau is helping people to secure rooms in town, but officials say the number of rooms is nearing capacity already. More people are expected to keep arriving.  Visitors can call 888-568-4784 for help with finding a room. People can also go to www.GoToLouisville.com and click on the "all reservations" tab.

The Convention and Visitors Bureau will also have volunteers in orange t-shirts that say "I Am Ali," who can answer questions and help visitors.

For more information about the upcoming memorial services, parking, shuttles and bus routes go to www.AliLouisville.com.

Many roads will be closed Friday for the 19 mile procession and memorial service downtown. For a list of road closures, CLICK HERE.

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