Sunshine, Spectators and Smiles: Another Memorable South Side Irish Parade

The South Side Irish Parade made its annual march down Western Avenue on March 12. Families, friends and neighbors lined the route to take part in the largest neighborhood-based St. Patrick’s Day Parade outside of Ireland.

This year’s parade featured over 100 entries including pipe bands, marching bands, Irish dancers, festive floats and 2017 South Side Irish Parade Queen Shannon Zofkie. Zofkie moves on as the South Side Irish Rose in the Chicago Rose of Tralee Selection set for April 8 at Ridge Country Club.

“We were delighted with the great day seeing so many families along the parade route enjoying this year’s festive parade entries,” said Jeannie Kovak, co-chairman of the South Side Irish Parade Committee. “We were honored to work with the Les Turner ALS Foundation and Christmas Without Cancer, both organizations are inspiring examples of helping others in the community and beyond.”

The parade was led by Grand Marshal, Les Turner ALS Foundation, Chicago’s leader in research, patient care and education about Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) for 40 years. Marching with the Grand Marshal were Meg Rooney and her family who have worked closely with Les Turner ALS Foundation to increase awareness about ALS and raise money to find a cure. Meg’s husband, John Rooney, succumbed to ALS in June 2016.

Christmas Without Cancer, a non profit organization that identifies Chicagoland families in need and provides gifts and basic necessities to families stricken with cancer, was the Parade’s Special Honoree.

The day began with over 125 runners who participated in the Emerald Isle Mile hosted by Running Excels. The men’s race was won by Joe Lerner with a time of 4:47:2. Rumbi Chidavaenzi was the first female finisher with a time of 6:09:9.

The parade is run by the South Side Irish St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Heritage Foundation, a non-profit organization. More than 60 volunteers work year round to ensure the family-friendly celebration continues for future generations.

The South Side Irish Parade is supported by sponsors including Lakeshore Beverage, CJ Wilson Mazda, AARP, The Beverly Review, South Side Irish Imports, Team Hochberg at PERL Mortgage, IUOE Local 150, AAA Evergreen Park Car Care, Raising Cane’s, County Fair Foods and IUOE Local 399.

No arrests or incidents were reported along the parade route.

“Like” the South Side Irish Parade on Facebook and view photos from the 2017 South Side Irish Parade.