The city’s official St. Patrick’s Day river dyeing and parade are Saturday. But to some, the really big day is Sunday.
It’s said the South Side Irish Parade started with about a dozen children marching around West Morgan Park with shamrocks and Irish flags.
Now, organizers say it’s the largest community-based St. Patrick’s Day parade outside of Dublin.
The parade begins at noon Sunday; it runs along Western Avenue from 103rd Street to 115th Street.
Marianne Rowan Leslie, the South Side Irish Parade chairperson, said the parade brings families together and is a marker for the beginning of spring.
“It marks the beginning of people coming back into the neighborhood and seeing everyone they haven’t seen for a long time,” Leslie said. “It’s a big tradition, and it’s very heartfelt.”
This year, the grand marshals will be the chaplains of the Chicago Police Department and Chicago Fire Department. Leslie pointed to the importance of their work, especially after a Chicago firefighter’s wife died from injuries days after the couple’s 7-year-old son was killed in a house fire and the funeral for fallen Chicago police officer Andrés Mauricio Vásquez Lasso was held Thursday.
“It highlights the importance of their work and the mission that they do for all of our first responders,” Leslie said.