Back in 1979, the Hendry and Coakley families gathered 17 children, which included their own and several others from the neighborhood, and led them out on a rainy Saturday to stomp around the block. They were dressed in costumes and carried flags and shamrocks, all in an effort to restore the Irish pride of their neighborhood. Thanks to the dedication of this original group, this march has moved from the sidewalks to the streets, and has become a yearly tradition. With each passing year it has grown in both size and rowdiness. Recently, the parade underwent a two-year hiatus due to overly rambunctious behavior. However, after returning last year, the parade has returned to the founders’ original vision of a day of family-friendly fun, and celebration of a beloved, shared culture!
This historic parade will run along Western Ave from 103rd Street to 115th Street. Last year, over 150,000 spectators turned up in their top hats and beads, to watch the marchers, many of them children. While no alcohol is allowed along the parade route, the tradition of the post-parade party lives on, in accordance with the original mantra, “Pray, Parade, and Party.” For those who don’t have a designated party destination, the local area bars fill up quickly, immediately following the parade’s end.
In support of the South Side Irish Parade, t-shirts and other merchandise can be purchased at The Official South Side Irish Parade Store, located at 10934 S. Western Avenue, next to O’Brien’s Pub. The store will be open from noon to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. The Parade is sponsored by a number of organizations, those interested in supporting the tradition can purchase their own “Tradition Marches On” street pole banner, which can be customized with the family name or business, and will hang on Western Avenue for the entire month of March.
Concierge Preferred offers recommendations on local events, culture, food, entertainment and more. For more 2013 St. Patrick’s Day (http://www.conciergepreferred.com/