2010 Chicago Saint Patrick's Day Parade
Saturday, March 13th, 2010 12:00 noon
begins at 12:00 noon, Saturday March 13th. The parade starts at Balbo and
Columbus. The parade units will proceed north on Columbus Drive and the viewing
stand will be located in front of Buckingham Fountain.
We need your help to cover and write an article about the grand parade.
Chicago River 10:45am: Saturday March 13th
scheduled for 10:45, Saturday March 13th and can be best viewed from the upper
level bridges at Michigan Ave or Columbus Drive.
The 2010 South Side Irish St. Patrick’s Day
The South Side Irish Parade Committee will hold the 31st Annual South Side Irish
Parade on Sunday, March 14, 2010
South Side Irish St. Patrick's Day Parade
The South Side Irish Parade
Committee will hold the 31st Annual South Side Irish Parade on Sunday, March 14,
The 2010 South Side Irish St.
Patrick’s Day Parade will step off at 12 noon on Sunday, March 14th, beginning at
103rd Street and Western Avenue, and continuing south to 115th Street.
Approximately 120 families, schools, civic organizations and businesses will
march along the parade route through the Beverly and Morgan Park neighborhoods.
Little Company of Mary Hospital and Health Care Centers, a not-for-profit
Catholic community hospital, will serve as the South Side Irish Parade’s 2005
Grand Marshal. The Parade's 2005 Special Honoree will be Gus Foundation, in
recognition of their support of pediatric brain tumor research and treatment.
This is the story
of how the South Side Irish St. Patrick’s Parade began. As with many stories
told by the Irish, exaggeration is inevitable, however, this story is
completely true. The parade was the vision of two best friends, George
Hendry and Pat Coakley. Both were raised on the South Side of Chicago,
George in the St. Sabina Parish and Pat in the Little Flower parish in the
Auburn neighborhood. The two did not meet until their early thirties, when
both moved to the Morgan Park community with their young wives. There they
became neighbors, best friends and in 1979, co-founders of the South Side
In the winter of
1979, sitting around the Hendry’s kitchen table enjoying a few beers, George and
Pat fondly remembered their experiences at the original South Side Irish Parade
(aka the Southtown Parade) that was held on 79th Street. That parade moved
downtown in 1960. It was at this time, while they were reminiscing, that George
and Pat felt the obligation to create “something” for their children and the
children of their friends and “green” neighbors. Nearly twenty years had passed,
but now the South Side would rise again with a new parade in a new location for
a new generation.
So on a rainy
Saturday, March 17, 1979, George and Pat, with the help of their wives, Mary and
Marianne (Mernie), gathered 17 children from the West Morgan Park community to
march in the first South Side Irish St. Pat’s Parade. The children were the only
marchers: Kevin Norris dressed as St. Patrick; Tim Kelly dressed as a
leprechaun; Eileen Hughes was the parade’s first and only queen; a few Boy
Scouts, including Jack and George Hendry and Pat and Kevin Coakley, carried the
American flag; and the parade’s original float, a baby buggy covered with a box
decorated with shamrocks and the 26 county flags of Ireland, was pushed around
the 10900 blocks of Washtenaw and Talman. The children were given the moniker
“The Wee Folks of Washtenaw and Talman”. The theme of the parade was “Bring Back
St. Pat”, which was George and Pat’s way of saying bring back to the South Side
the parade they had cherished as children. Notices of the parade which were
placed in mailboxes along the “route” invited neighbors to stand on their
porches and wave to the marchers. Immediately following the parade, the children
were invited to the Hendry’s basement for Kool-aid and Twinkies. Later that
evening, the adults continued the party in the Coakley’s basement until the
Others noticed this
small gathering and celebration in the community and so in 1980, the parade
moved from the sidewalks to the side streets and began at Kennedy Park. Three
hundred participants marched past friendly neighbors watching from their front
yards and windows. Marchers included families with wagons, children on decorated
bicycles, dogs, and a bag piper. The St. Cajetan School’s band sat in chairs in
front of the Kennedy Park field house and played for the gathering crowd. The
parade meandered through the neighborhood and ended at the Beverly Bank parking
lot, where Terry McEldowney sang Irish songs for the crowd.
It was hard to
believe, but the parade was gaining in popularity and George and Mary and Pat
and Mernie decided it was time to take the parade to THE STREET. On Sunday,
March 15, 1981 the parade would march down Western Ave. for the first time,
where it continues to march today. Then-Mayor Jane Byrne would only provide a
permit for the southbound lane of Western from 103rd Street to 115th Street,
while live northbound traffic whizzed by in the opposite lane. The Chicago
Police were ordered not to provide crowd and traffic control, but parade
volunteers and a few crossing guards assumed the responsibilities and the parade
marched on safely. The 1981 parade was a parade of “firsts” – traditions that
continue today and without which the parade just wouldn’t be the parade. This
was the year that St. Cajetan Church, the official parish of the parade, would
celebrate with a Mass honoring St. Patrick. Following the parade, a party
commenced in St. Cajetan’s Memorial Hall. It was named the Post-Parade Party,
and the parade trilogy and unofficial motto, which referenced the three
successive aspects of each Parade Day, was born: “Pray, Parade, and Party”.
Today, many families in the area celebrate the day by attending a special Parade
Mass, then gather along Western Avenue to watch the parade, and finally head
home to host parties for family and friends. A number of neighborhood families
also use this gathering day as an excuse for an annual family reunion. Another
1981 first for the parade was the use of a Grand Marshall. That year, three
neighborhood children, Bess Hendry, Annie Coakley and Sean Crowe, were the
parade’s first Grand Marshalls. All three were chosen to signify that the parade
would be first and foremost a family affair.
With the success of
the 1981 parade, it was apparent that George and Pat needed some help. They
asked a few friends and local parishioners to get involved, and a committee was
formed. Without the help of Fr. Marty O’Donovan, Mike Hayes, Jim Davoren, Bob
Rafferty, Paul Poynton, Sean McCarthy, Bill Letz, Jack McNicholas, Dick Norris,
Bill Gainer, Jim Sheridan and Bill Wallace in those earlier years, the parade
wouldn’t be the success it is today. Currently, there are 26 committee members
handling everything from logistics, float entries, sanitation and sponsorship to
related events, PR/Media, marshals, bands and merchandising. Today, the South
Side Irish Parade is considered the largest neighborhood-based St. Patrick’s Day
parade outside of Dublin. It grew from 17 children marching around the block 27
years ago to an event that hosts over 15,000 marchers and 250,000+ spectators
Each year after 1981,
the official parade route has been from 103rd & Western to 115th & Western, and
each year a Grand Marshall is chosen, often a charitable organization that is
dedicated to children. Each year since 2004, the parade has also designated
another organization as a Special Honoree, thus enabling the parade to highlight
and honor two unique organizations each year.
The South Side Irish
St. Patrick’s Day Parade was created for Pat and George’s children. Children,
family, faith and heritage are what this great parade is all about!
The annual celebration of faith and
heritage will take place on Sunday, when the South Side Irish
St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee and St. Cajetan Parish host the Parade Mass.
The celebration will begin with
Irish songs and music at 8:30 AM, followed by Mass at 9:00 AM. This year’s
celebrant will be Fr. Gene Smith, Associate Pastor of St. Barnabas Church in
St. Cajetan Church is located at
112th and Artesian (2500W) in the West Morgan Park neighborhood of Chicago. The
St. Cajetan Parish Center can be reached at 773-238-4100.
For additional info visit our
friends @ the official website http://www.southsideirishparade.org/