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GO IRISH: St. Patrick’s Day events in Chicago area

The Chicago River is dyed green to celebrate St. Patrick's Day each year.  |   Sun-Times file photo
The Chicago River is dyed green to celebrate St. Patrick's Day each year. | Sun-Times file photo

What’s Irish and sits outside in the summertime? Patty O’Furniture.

How many Irishmen does it take to change a light bulb? Five. One to change the bulb and four to remark about how grand the old bulb was.

There’s no joke about it: it’s nearly St. Patrick’s Day. Here’s a rundown of events this weekend to help everyone feel a little bit Irish.

Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Noon, March 15

chicagostpatsparade.com

Come at 10 a.m. to watch the Chicago River get dyed green, stay for the city’s official St. Patrick’s Day parade. The best place to watch the river getting dyed is at the intersection of Michigan Avenue, Wacker Drive and the river. This year’s grand marshal John McDonough, president and CEO of the Chicago Blackhawks. The parade starts at Balbo and Columbus and proceeds north on Columbus to Monroe. The viewing stand will be located in front of Buckingham Fountain.

South Side Irish Parade

Noon, March 16

Western Avenue from 103rd to 115th streets, Chicago

(773) 916-7757

southsideirishparade.org

The South Side Irish Parade is now a family-friendly event with a zero-tolerance policy for alcohol along the route, although some responsible pre-gaming in one of the watering holes along Western Avenue is not discouraged.

Last year’s parade attracted 90 participants, from kilted bagpipers to rosy-cheeked dancers and even a pack of Irish Wolfhounds.

The day kicks off with a one-mile fun run called The Emerald Isle Mile.

Northwest Side Irish Parade

10 a.m. March 16

William J. Onahan School, 6634 W. Raven St.

northwestsideirish.org

The Northwest Irish Parade is a celebration of faith, family and heritage now in its 11th year. The parade includes face painting, balloons and features dancers from the Dillon-Gavin School of Dance. The official After Party starts at 1 p.m. at Immaculate Conception Recreation Center, 7211 W. Talcott Ave., Chicago. Tickets are $10 for 12 and over; children under 12 are $5. The party includes traditional corned beef and cabbage meal with live entertainment.

St. Patrick’s Festival

March 15-17

Irish American Heritage Center, 4626 N. Knox Ave.

(773) 282-7035

Irish-american.org

The Irish American Heritage Center hosts three days of St. Patrick’s Day follies starting immediately after the city’s parade March 15. This annual family-friendly event includes traditional and contemporary Irish music, dance, food, children’s activities and an Arts and Craft Fair, with vendors selling Irish gifts. Tickets are $12-$15.

On March 16, stop in for a pint, live music, NCAA games on the large TV screens, darts and a limited traditional Irish menu. Hours are from 1 to 8 p.m. 21 and over only.

Come back March 17 for the St. Patrick’s Day Celebration. The party runs from 12 to 10 p.m. and includes music, dance and face painting for children. There will be a mass at 11 a.m. $10 at the door; kids are free.

Shoreline Sightseeing River Cruise

March 15

Shorelinesightseeing.com/cruisestours/special-events/st-patricks-day-cruise

Last year, I took my family downtown to see the green Chicago River. It was a raw, grey day, we had to walk forever (not fun with young children) and on more than one occasion I had to cover the kids’ ears from hearing too much o’ the blarney.

Learn from my mistake and get an up-close view of the green Chicago River via a Shoreline Sightseeing Cruise.

Departures for the 90-minute cruise are before and after the city’s St. Patrick’s Day noontime parade March 15, and it includes a traditional Irish buffet with corned beef and cabbage and all the trimmings. You can even get an Irish coffee or a pint at the cash bar. Tickets are $49.

Suburbs

Naperville St. Patrick’s Day Parade and St. Paddy’s Day 5K

March 15

Naperville

Wsirish.org

Everyone’s Irish at the 21st annual West Suburban Irish St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 15. The parade kicks off at 10 a.m. from Naperville North High School at 899 N. Mill St. The parade continues south on Mill Street, east on Jefferson Avenue, south on Main Street and west on Water Street to the Municipal Center.

All residents are encouraged to donate a non-perishable food item to benefit the Loaves and Fishes Community Food Pantry.

The parade steps off immediately following the Rotary Club of Naperville/Sunrise St. Paddy’s Day 5K. The fun continues at Quigley’s Irish Pub after the parade. The parade will include nearly 100 entries comprised of marching bands, youth groups, local businesses, politicians and other groups.

Of course there will be traditional Irish trappings, like six different pipe and drum groups and two schools of Irish dancers, said West Suburban Irish president Chuck Corrigan.

“At the end of the parade this year, we are going to have some interesting things. We will have the Aurora Area Shrine Club with their small cars and the Medinah Motor Corp, which is some Harley motorcycles that drive in precision units and do little tricks. We’ll also have Mongo Man from bd’s Mongolian Grill.”

No matter the weather, the crowds are always enthusiastic, he said.

“I think they enjoy getting outside. It feels like the kickoff to spring for a lot of folks.”

The grand marshal is Mike Reilly, who serves on the Naperville Park Board and is a member of West Suburban Irish.

St. Charles St. Patrick’s Day Parade

March 15

Downtownstcharles.org/events/st-patricks-parade/

The St. Patrick’s Parade goes down Main Street (Route 64) at 2 p.m. and features Irish dancers, Irish music, floats and more. There will also be a Deck Out Your Lucky Dog contest; register at the tent in front of the Municipal Center between 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Before that, come to the Arcada Theater for a St. Patrick’s Dance show at 10 a.m. Several local dance studios will perform.

East Dundee St. Patrick’s Day Parade

March 15

Downtown East Dundee

Dundeestpats.com

There will be a celebratory fireworks show on March 14, and the parade is at 11 a.m. The grandstand is at Barrington Avenue and River Street. There will be bands, step dancers, stilt walkers, horses, cavalry, green footballs and an Irish Princess contest for 12-16-year-old girls living in Dundee Township. The FISH Food Pantry will be accepting food and cash donations during parade.

Irish Jig Jog 5K Race

March 15

St. Catherine of Siena, 845 W. Main St., West Dundee

Irishjigjog.com

The 10th Annual Irish Jig Jog kicks off at 8:30 a.m. March 15 at St. Catherine of Siena. The event includes breakfast, a beer tent, bagpipers, Irish dancing and a $10,000 Shamrock Raffle.

Shamrock Scramble

10-11 a.m. March 16

Schaumburg Park District, 505 N. Springinsguth Road, Schaumburg

(847) 490-7020

Parkfun.com

Geared to the 6-and-under set, children can make a St. Patrick’s Day craft and have a snack before heading out into field of green clovers. Each clover includes a treat. Find a four-leaf clover and win a prize. Wear your best St. Patrick’s Day attire. Pre-registration is required by March 14. $5-$7.

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