By Patrick Mangin ‘24

Last Sunday marked the 45th anniversary of Chicago’s South Side Irish Parade, one of the biggest days of the year for those on the South Side. Thousands of people from the South Side and all of Chicago gather on Western Ave. to watch the parade of floats and listen to Irish music.

The parade started as the Southtown Parade on 79th Street, but in 1960 the parade moved downtown. This troubled locals George Hendry and Pat Coakley who eventually became the founders of the new South Side Parade in 1979.

The first parade in 1979 consisted of 17 children from the Morgan Park area and was a great success. Then, in 1980 the parade moved to the streets with over 300 people marching, including bands, wagons, and, obviously, many more people.

Longtime Chicago resident Bill O’Brien said, “I remember when the parade first started. It’s crazy how much it has grown since then.”

In 1981, the parade had its first march down Western Ave., where it remains to this day. Since 1981, the route has been from 103rd and Western to 115th and Western, and there is no sign of that changing.

Locals thoroughly enjoy this day and use it as a way to gather with friends and family and celebrate their Irish heritage.

South Side resident Jeff McClorey said, “The South Side Irish Parade is one of my favorite parts of living here. I love seeing people from the neighborhood celebrate their heritage and have a good time.”

The parade is especially exciting for high school students. Kids from every high school in the area gather on western to watch the parade and enjoy the festivities.

Senior Jacob Frank said, “Parade day is my favorite day of the whole year. I really enjoy hanging out with my friends and seeing people that I don’t see very often.”

Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated by many people in America, but it is safe to say that the South Side does it best.