I hope that everyone had an enjoyable "everyone is Irish weekend." Here in Chicago we take our Saint Paddy's Day very seriously. Every year on the Saturday before Saint Patrick's Day we dye the Chicago river green. Emerald Green. It's pretty neat to see, actually.
You can see some images of the green river here. (Don't worry, it's soy based and completely fine for the aquatic life). More images of the Saint Patrick's Day parade can be seen here.
Despite the popularity and tourists that the downtown Saint Patrick's Day parade draws, most Chicago natives, especially those with Irish roots, will argue that the real parade is the South Side Irish parade.
The Saint Patrick's Day Parade was always held in the South Side, where many of the Chicagoians of Irish decent lived. However, in 1960, the mayor of Chicago, Richard Daley, moved the parade downtown. This parade because the "normal" St Patrick's Day Parade that most people are familiar with. Then, in 1979 the South Siders decided to start another parade. They wanted to bring the Parade back to the neighborhood where it was from. So now Chicago has two Saint Patrick's Day parades--downtown the Saturday before St Patrick's Day and South Side on the Sunday before.
The South Side Parade is considered to be the more rowdy of the two parades. There is a family section which is kept fairly on the up and up, but the other section, the fun section, is a little more...interesting. Unfortunately I was unable to attend this year, but I did go last year. I totally saw a drunk eight-year-old. Despite the racous nature, the parade is begun with mass at St. Cajetan Church at 112th and Artesian at 8:30am. Then the floats take to the street begining at noon.
The Irish are not a majority ethnic group in Chicago, but they are a very vocal and active one. Chicago has had 12 Irish mayors. Michael Flatley aka the Lord of the Dance was born and raised in Chicago.
Monday, March 16, 2009
at 3:43 PM