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The Chicago Traveler

St. Patrick’s Day Parades 2008

by Matt B on March 6th, 2008

St. Patrick's Day is coming, so dust off that neon green hat and invest in some green face paint. There are three different parades to celebrate the Lucky Irish here in Chicago and to get your fill of Irish brews.

ireland' South Side Irish St. Patrick's Day Parade. (March 9) If you can only make it to one parade, this is the one to go to. With well over 200,000 attendees and more than 100 floats, marching bands, bagpipes, politicians, dance schools, and clubs, this is an incredible event. And, of course, who are we kidding' there's a LOT of beer going around. The celebration starts with music at 8:30 a.m., followed by Mass at 9:00 a.m. at St. Cajetan Church (2445 W 112th St). The parade itself kicks off at 12 noon from 103rd Street and Western Avenue and travels south to 115th Street.

' St. Patrick's Day Parade. (March 15) If you can't make it all the way down to the south side or if you're a tourist looking to see the sights, this downtown celebration may be the thing for you. Head to the Michigan Avenue bridge or Columbus Drive bridge at 10:45 a.m. to watch the Chicago River turn green. The parade begins at Columbus and Balbo Drives at 12 noon and may be best viewed from Buckingham Fountain. However, no matter where you are along the route, you'll get a good view of 50 floats and 2,000 Irish dancers.

guiness' Northwest Side Irish Parade. (March 16) Don't feel like wandering from crowded bar to crowded bar? This parade comes with its own official after-party. The parade starts at 11:00 a.m. and runs from Raven Street and Neola Avenue to NW Highway and Harlem Avenue. Afterward, for a $30 entrance fee, you can enjoy the food, drinks, and live entertainment at the after-party at Norwood Park Dodge from 1:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m.

Wherever you go, remember these tips:

#1. Park far away. Or don't bring a car at all, if you can help it. But if you must drive, park at least 4 blocks away (or more) to help make your exit easier.

#2. Get there early. There are thousands upon thousands of people attending these parades, so if you want a good spot, show up well before the starting time.

#3. Know your limit. Nothing ruins a party like an obnoxious, loud, abrasive, rude, and/or falling-down drunk. We're all here to have fun and watching you forget your manners isn't fun.

#4. No drinking in public. Related to the previous tip, remember that just because it's a holiday doesn't mean you don't have to follow the law. Open alcohol is still prohibited. Sure, the cops might be a little forgiving, but not if you're drinking out of an obvious can or bottle.

#5. Don't forget your green.

Photo credit: Sarah Mooney

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POSTED IN: Entertainment, Events

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