POLL: Do You Think The South Side Irish Parade Can Remain Alcohol Free

Readers say they can cop a buzz responsibly.

News that the South Side Irish Parade may be returning was greeted with excitement until everyone heard the catch:

The 30-year strong South Side Irish Parade began as a quaint family parade of scout troops, local business floats and high school marching bands with green-dyed hair marching down Western Avenue. Like the annual neighborhood celebration became a victim of its own success, attracting hundreds of thousands of intoxicated celebrants in its later years.

When parade officials could no no longer ensure public safety, the parade was regretfully canceled in 2009. Now it's poised to come back.

Chicago Alderman Matt O’Shea (19th), a former member of the parade committee before he was elected alderman, has already written to Mayor Rahm Emanuel protesting the permit granted by the Chicago Department of Transporation.

In a letter to constituents, O’Shea called the parade committee’s public safety plan sketchy at best, and stated his opposition to the South Side Irish Parade’s resurrection under the current circumstances. You can read O’Shea’s letter here. We’ve also included the pdf of his letter to Mayor Emanuel.

Within seconds of posting the question, “Do you think the South Side Irish Parade can remain alcohol free,” on the Oak Lawn Patch Facebook page, we received nine reader responses. Many readers left comments attesting to copping a buzz responsibly, including not driving.

Here is some of that reader commentary:




“I hope the organizers have better luck keeping the 'kids' more under control than in the last few years.”

“Hell no. Who thinks that?”


“I’m gonna go with no.”

“No, nor should it.”

“Not a chance in hell.”

“The last couple of years they tried to make the parade alcohol free, so people adjusted. They came wasted … Past tradition held that you have a 'buzz' before you get to the parade! We always knew how to do it. Things changed when ‘newbies’ came on buses, trains, etc.”

"Hope not."

So what do you think? Take the poll. And even though my byline will be appearing underneath numerous articles this week, I am off the clock until next Monday. Have a great week!

Pat F January 16, 2012 at 08:19 PM
The police can't handle it alone.. People who enjoy the parade but not the fall down drunks should just turn them in to the first officer they see.(or a possible number specifically for this reason where the parade watchers could call and tell the police where these offenders are causing problems) I still say there's no reason you can't sensibly drink a few beers and still remain human.. I myself always enjoyed the parade with my family and also drank a reasonable amount of beers! I didn't fight or urinate on anyone's lawn!! Do your power drinking after the parade at your own house or bar!! If they concentrate more on the underage drinkers, more than half the problem would be eliminated. Another 45% could be eliminated if the police checked the people getting off the buses loaded with all those North Side Cub fans in their TuTu outfits and umbrella drinks in their hands!! The last 5% is just the plain old South Side Irishman just looking for a way to vent his frustrations!! Have a great St.Paddy's Day hopefully at the South Side Parade on Western Avenue!!!!!!!!!
Carolyn Lanigan January 17, 2012 at 03:12 AM
Misinformation on Oak Lawn Round Up. It was not discontinued due to alcohol misuse. Oak Lawn had grown tremendously in 1950's and less open land. Also crowds had grown huge. Talk in later years of resurrecting Round Up but impossible as town had changed so much.
Lorraine Swanson January 17, 2012 at 04:14 AM
There was no intent to misinform, just clumsy writing. I was merely trying to say that Round Up Days drew hundreds of thousands of visitors in its later years that it became too big for the village to handle. And you are right. Round Up Days was an alcohol free event. It was not my intention to imply that Round Up Days was same rowdy, drunken affair that the South Side Irish Parade had become in its later years. We've done a lot of Round Up Days, starting with this story. I'm supposed to be on vacation so I can rest up and be a more graceful writer when I return on Monday. http://patch.com/A-9Hv
Kelly January 17, 2012 at 06:55 AM
Many people are having a hard time believing in the zero tolerance rule but if there is zero tolerance then there is zero tolerance. I understand there aren't cops at every turn but in the past cops have been lenient with adults and people who act civil so they will give a ticket to anyone with an open container this year. I think bringing back the parade is absolutely great for the community and can most definitely happen with a little support and a lot of good behavior from the neighborhood.


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