The 45th South Side Irish St. Patrick’s Day Parade will be held Sun., Mar. 12, stepping off with Grand Marshal — the chaplains of the Chicago Police and Fire Departments — in the lead followed by Beverly Area Planning Association (BAPA) as Parade Honoree.
The Chicago Police Chaplains Ministry and Chicago Fire Chaplain Ministry provide support to both active and retired officers, firefighters, and their families during times of extreme stress.
Parade Honoree BAPA that is celebrating its 75th year of improving and developing the Beverly/Morgan Park community.
The South Side Irish Parade steps off at noon from 103rd and Western marching south to 115th Street. A family-friendly event, the South Side Irish Parade began in 1979 and has grown to become the largest St. Patrick’s Day community-based parade outside of Dublin, Ireland.
“The central focus of the South Side Irish St. Patrick’s Day Parade is faith, family, community, and Irish heritage,” said Marianne Rowan Leslie, co-chair of the South Side Irish Parade Committee. “From our perspective, we could not think of a more deserving group than the Chicago Police and Chicago Fire Chaplain Ministry to represent this mission. Their work to support police and fire professionals as they encounter life challenging situations deserves to be recognized. We are delighted to highlight the Chaplain Ministry to help raise awareness of the supportive services they offer to Chicago Police and Fire on a daily basis.”
The Chicago Police Chaplain Ministry provides pastoral and crisis care to the Chicago Police Department community. They demonstrate to police officers that they are never alone in their jobs despite the incredibly difficult situations they may face. Chaplains have been especially helpful in handling officers’ mental health, providing trusted, 24/7 care. Officers know they have somewhere to turn for help.
“We are honored to be selected as the 2023 South Side Irish Parade Grand Marshal,” said Rev. Dan Brandt, the director of the Chicago Police Chaplains Ministry. “Walking alongside the individuals and organizations that represent the Chicago Police and Fire departments is another chance to remind these individuals of the difference they make and thank them for their sacrifice.”
As for Chicago firefighters, the Chicago Fire Chaplain Ministry is committed to serving the needs of active and retired firefighters and their families when they feel they have nowhere else to turn. Caring for the firefighters and their families, especially in the event of tragedy for one of the fire professionals, is only one of their roles. They are available daily to help firefighters and their family members address the pressures associated with these jobs.
“Being recognized as the Grand Marshal is a privilege we are honored to be a part of,” said Rev. Bill McFarlane, the Chicago Fire Department Chaplain. “The men and women of the Chicago Fire Department community have taught me some of the greatest lessons in their times of grief, and I am proud to walk alongside them in the parade honoring these individuals as the heroes they are.”
BAPA, the Parade Honoree, is a grassroots civic organization. Its motto, “Love Where you Live,” has served as a unifying force for residents, institutions, and businesses since 1947. BAPA’s programs continue to preserve, improve and enhance the quality of life in Beverly/Morgan Park, one of Chicago’s best neighborhoods.
“BAPA is thrilled to be selected as the South Side Irish St. Patrick’s Day Parade Honoree,” said May Jo Viero, BAPA’s executive director. “BAPA is a unique organization where neighbors help neighbors and community means everything, and we are proud to be a part of an event that brings the community together.”
The Parade features 100 entries including pipe and drum bands, Irish dancers, marching bands, festive floats, Irish folk music, area parishes and schools, youth athletic teams, Irish family clans, non profit organizations, small businesses, and more.
Special Parade Activities
The South Side Irish St. Patrick’s Day Parade invites everyone to enjoy special Parade Day activities before the Parade steps off at noon on Mar. 12, and throughout Parade season.
From 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. the NASCAR Chicago Street Race Pit Stop will be at 103rd and Western offering a chance to snap a fan photo of the NASCAR show cars that will be racing along Chicago’s streets in July. NASCAR show cars will also cruise down Western during the Parade for everyone to catch a glimpse of the Chicago Street Race Experience.
At 10 a.m. families are invited to to watch a special scrimmage with Chicago City Soccer Club (CITY) played by the coaches and youth team members at Beverly Park, 103rd and Maplewood. Attendees will have a chance to learn more about Chicago City Soccer Club, a 501c3 non profit organization dedicated to families and soccer fans across Chicagoland.
CITY is the first and only Illinois Youth Soccer Association (IYSA) 5 Star Club in the City of Chicago. CITY utilizes soccer to promote health and wellness both physcally and mentally providing unique opportunities for both players and coaches.
Come out on Parade day morning to meet CITY coaches including Gary Doherty, former Ireland Premier League star with Tottingham Hotspurs. Learn how the CITY team leads with kindness, compassion and empathy while creating a holistic approach to the long term development of student athletes on and off the field. Chicago City Soccer Club youth will be also be marching in the Parade.
Between 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., stop by the Dunkin’ Cruiser at 108th and Western to try a free sample of Original Blend Iced Coffee or an Irish Creme Iced Coffee.
Before parade day arrives, be sure to drop by South Side Irish Imports to purchase your St. Patrick’s Day decorations and exclusive licensed South Side Irish Parade merchandise, and head to County Fair Foods for their special barrel style corned beef and all the trimmings.
During the month of March, watch for specials from Tullamore DEW, the official Irish Whiskey of the South Side Irish Parade, at area establishments and head out to the South Side Social Kitchen in the Hilton Oak Lawn for a March special and some special Irish cheer.
The parade is operated by the South Side Irish St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Heritage Foundation, a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization, where more than 100 volunteers work year-round to ensure this family-friendly celebration continues for future generations.
The parade is supported by major sponsors including Tullamore DEW Irish Whiskey, Lakeshore Beverage, Dunkin’ Coffee, County Fair Foods, IUOE Local 399,Ozinga, Chicago City Soccer Club, Chicago White Sox, Express Med Spa, The Beverly Review, ComEd, Local 150, Ullico Inc., Flood Brothers, Home Run Inn Beverly, Hilton Chicago/Oak Lawn, OSF Little Company of Mary Medical Center, Mercedes-Benz of Orland Park, Marquette Bank, Megent Financial, NASCAR Chicago Street Race, Guinness, BudLight, Green River, Roofers and Waterproofers Local 11, and South Side Irish Imports and more.
Visit southsideirishparade.org and the parade’s Facebook page for more information.