Tradition Marches On lawn signs are springing up throughout the neighborhood. St. Patrick’s Day decorations are appearing in store windows up and down Western Avenue. People are checking their pantries to make sure they have everything they need to make soda bread and calling County Fair to order enough corned beef for a small army. Closets are being rifled for green beads, shamrock shaped sunglasses, and leprechaun hats too long stowed away.
Everywhere you look, there’s evidence that Beverly/Morgan Park is getting ready for the return of the South Side Irish St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Sun., Mar. 13.
“We are a family-friendly event, and we are very happy to be celebrating our community once again,” said Don Larisey, Co-Chair of the South Side Irish St. Patrick’s Day Parade, echoing the feelings of area residents.
The parade steps off from 103rd and Western at noon, local Catholic School elementary principals, teachers and staff who have been waiting for this day since 2020 will finally lead the way as Grand Marshals.
Being recognized as “Thankful for Catholic Elementary School Teachers,” the South Side Irish St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee looks forward to honoring the hardworking teachers who educate Chicago’s Catholic school students, particularly during these challenging times.
“Our local Catholic elementary school teachers and students represent the themes that we hold dear and are worthy of the Grand Marshal moniker again for 2022,” Larisey said. “We are also pleased to honor the Tom Hopkins Foundation and to announce Bailey O’Connell as our Parade Queen for 2022.”
The Tom Hopkins Foundation was founded by the children of the late Tom “Papa Hops” Hopkins, to keep their father’s spirit alive. The foundation hosts a summer softball tournament, using the proceeds to assist local families affected by cancer and to support youth athletics.
Parade Queen Bailey O’Connell was selected in 2020 and will reign over the parade this month. O’Connell grew up in Mount Greenwood and attended Mount Greenwood School and Mother McAuley High School.
The South Side Irish Parade Committee will sponsor the O’Connell to compete in the Chicago Rose of Tralee Selection as the South Side Irish Rose. The mission of the Chicago Rose of Tralee is to provide enrichment opportunities that will encourage young women of Irish descent to be exemplary role models for tomorrow’s youth and to make a positive difference in the world.
“The South Side Irish Parade was created on the themes of faith, family, community and Irish heritage. We are very happy to be back this year and be assured that we will be following health and safety guidelines from our Public Health officials,” Larisey said.
To help offset the costs of operating the annual march down Western Avenue, area residents are invited to purchase for $20 and proudly display 2022 Tradition Marches On Yard Signs for $20 each and participate in the South Side Tradition Marches On Home Decorating Contest. Contest participants are asked to decorate the outside of their house showcasing Irish pride and support the parade then make and submit a 10-second video of your creative work. The entry deadline is Mar. 7. Winners will be chosen through online voting, and the grand prize is $1,000 in gift cards from local businesses. Order yard signs and find details and contest participation instructions at southsideirishparade.org under events.
One of the largest community St. Patrick’s Day parades outside of Dublin, the South Side Irish St. Patrick’s Day Parade is dedicated to the community and celebration of Irish heritage. The parade is operated by the South Side Irish St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Heritage Foundation, a not-for-profit organization, and more than 100 volunteers work year-round to ensure the celebration continues for future generations. Visit southsideirishparade.org for more information.
Major sponsors of the parade include Lakeshore Beverage, The Beverly Review, County Fair Foods, IUOE Local 399, IUOE Local 150, Chicago White Sox, ComEd, Goose Island, Ozinga, OSF Little Company of Mary Hospital, Local 11, Home Run Inn Beverly, and South Side Irish Imports.