The South Side Irish Parade is just days away, and we here at Patch have pulled together everything you need to know to make the most of the best parade in Chicago.
- When: The parade starts at noon on Sunday, March 16
- Where: Western Avenue in Chicago's Beverly neighborhood. The parade will begin at 103rd and proceed down Western Avenue to 115th Street.
In its second year, The Emerald Isle Mile one-mile run down Western Avenue will be held before the start of the parade. The race kicks off at 11 a.m. A portion of the proceeds benefit Special Olympics Chicago.
Street closures start at 6 a.m. on parade day and last until 3 p.m. There will be no street parking on the east side of Artesian from 103rd to 111th or on the west side of Claremont from 103rd to 107th. Side streets will also be closed in the area around the parade route. If you are driving, wear comfortable shoes because you'll have to do some walking. Find a full map of the closures.
The parade had a two-year hiatus after rowdy crowds and heavy drinking put a damper on the one-time family event. When the parade returned, it was with a strict no drinking policy. Police and private security personnel will be out in full force stopping anyone with alcohol. The Chicago City Council last year even passed an ordinance that imposes harsher punishment on those caught boozing. You will also be banned from having alcohol on the Rock Island Metra before the parade.
Anyone who witnesses a crime or encounters drunk behavior during the parade should call 911.
This year's grand marshals will be the Mulliganeers, a Chicagoland nonprofit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to fundraising for children in need and their families. This volunteer based group has been “Giving Kids a Second Chance” since 1995 and distributed over $4.3 million dollars to over 260 kids and families.
You will want to claim your spot on Western Avenue early before the parade steps off. Wear comfortable shoes because unless you live close to the parade route you'll likely be doing some walking. Green attire is a must.
We almost hate to utter the word, but: snow. Weather.com is predicting 32 degrees, with snow flurries. Chance of precipitation, 30 percent. (Ugh.)
After the Parade
While you are out and about it make it a point to stop in at a local business and give back to the merchants who support the event. You can buy a cup of fresh roasted coffee or a great dessert at Beverly Bakery or make a list of new stores that you want to stop back and visit. If the bar scene is for you, there are plenty of fine Irish taverns on the west side of the street to choose from. Just remember that you are in a neighborhood, not frat row.
Get Your Green On
If you need to pick up some great Irish hear before the parade, the South Side Irish Parade Committee's store, 10934 S. Western Ave has all the gear. Check their Facebook page for hours. You should also check out South Side Irish Imports, 3446 W 111th St., for a wide variety of clothing.
More Parade News
- South Side Irish Parade Committee Unveils Grand Marshal
- Parade Crew Names the 2014 South Side Irish Parade Queen
Share your tips, thoughts and favorite pre- or post-parade spots in the comments.