South Side Irish Parade Steps Off This Month 

 Submitted by the South Side Irish Parade Day Committee  

 

The 2024 South Side Irish Parade will begin at noon on Sunday, March 17 at 103rd and Western in Beverly/Morgan Park. 

 

Grand Marshal  

The South Side Irish St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee announces Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana will lead this year’s parade as the Grand Marshal. 

“We are delighted to announce this year’s Grand Marshal, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana, who provide families with amazing respite and the resources they need as their children undergo complex medical care at area pediatric hospitals. We are inspired to have them lead our annual march down Western Avenue sharing the needs of so many families they serve” said Marianne Rowan Leslie, chair of the South Side Irish St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee. 

Holly Buckendahl, chief executive officer of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana, adds, “We are honored to be recognized as the 2024 South Side Irish St. Patrick’s Day Parade Grand Marshal. Much like Ronald McDonald House, the parade is so deeply rooted in family and community, and we couldn’t imagine a better collaboration. Through our Ronald McDonald House in Oak Lawn, along with nine additional program locations throughout the Chicagoland area, we help families in our community get better together. We are so excited to be a part of this memorable community event.” 

Honoree  

Smith Village, celebrating its 100th year of senior living in the Beverly/Morgan Park community was named the 2024 Parade Honoree. Juxtapose the Grand Marshal choice with the Honoree and the joy that seniors have found for a century living at Smith Village, a unique senior living community right here in the heart of Beverly/Morgan Park and along the Parade route.  

“Both our Grand Marshal and Honoree are incredible organizations reflective of the core values of the Parade Committee,” adds Leslie. 

“Over the past century of caring for older adults, Smith Village is grateful to the support of Chicago business and civic leaders who have helped the community thrive,” says Kevin McGee, president and CEO of Smith Senior Living. “Situated near the end of the parade route, we look forward to this wonderful celebration of culture every year, and we are grateful to be recognized as an honoree.” 

During 2024 Smith Village, a not-for-profit community sponsored by Smith Senior Living, is celebrating a century of caring for older adults. The community originally opened in 1924 as Oakhaven Old People’s Home. In 1929, the estate of Emilie Smith gave $1.75 million to the community which was renamed Washington and Jane Smith Home to honor her parents.  

From 1930 to 1960, the community has expanded four times to accommodate the growing need for senior care and housing. A fifth time in 1991, occurred with the addition of a three-story skilled nursing care wing along Oakley Avenue. In 2004, the Smith Senior Living board of directors launched a $65 million redevelopment plan to create the first continuing care retirement community in the area offering independent living, assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing care and rehab. The community was renamed Smith Village to mark the transformation. Smith Village builds on a century of care for older adults, evolving to enhance daily life and offer residents the care they need. For more information, visit SmithVillage.org.  

 

Pre-Parade Fundraiser 

The South Side Irish Parade will kick off the festivities with a pre-parade fundraiser on Saturday, March 2, 2024. The party will be held from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. at 115 Bourbon Street, 3359 West 115th Street, Merrionette Park. Proceeds from the evening will help support the expense of operating the parade. 

 

Tickets are $50 at the door and admission includes a dinner buffet, draft beer and wine. The event will feature raffle prizes, a silent auction, the selection of the South Side Irish Parade Queen, and much more. The Avondale Ramblers and Kieran Bryne will provide live music inside the 115 Bourbon Street Performance Hall. The fundraiser will also feature a quieter approach with Irish traditional music sessions featuring Pat Finnegan and Friends inside the Saloon. 

 

Parade Day Clothing 

South Side Irish Parade merchandise will be available for purchase at South Side Irish Imports, 3446 W. 111th St. Chicago, IL 60655, through St. Patrick’s Day. 

 

Lucky #7 

Did you know that the 2024 South Side Irish Parade will mark just the seventh time in parade history that the festivities will take place on the actual St. Patrick’s Day holiday, March 17?  

Regularly held on the Sunday before the holiday, the parade itself was only held on the March 17 date in 1979, 1985, 1991, 1996, 2002 and 2019, making the 2024 event the seventh such occurrence.  

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