St. Patrick’s Parade set for Saturday in Naperville
By David Sharos For The Sun March 14, 2013 7:57PM
Members of the McNulty Irish Dancers head down Jefferson Avenue during the annual Naperville St. Patrick's Day parade in Naperville, Ill., on Saturday, March 17, 2012. | Corey R. Minkanic~For Sun-Times Media
If you go
What: 20th annual West Suburban Irish St. Patrick’s Day parade
When: Saturday, beginning at 10 a.m.
Where: Parade starts at Naperville North High School, at the corner of Mill Street and Ogden Avenue. It will head south on Mill to Jefferson Avenue, then east to Main Street, south to Water Street, and then west, ending at the Naperville Municipal Center.
Updated: April 16, 2013 3:16PM
All things Irish will be the theme of the day this Saturday when the West Suburban Irish will host its 20th annual St. Patrick’s Day parade, beginning at 10 a.m. at Naperville North High School.
The event will include the usual floats representing a large number of school and community groups, as well as dancers, the parade queen and her court, and more. This year’s grand marshal will be the founder of the parade, Naperville’s Kevin Dolan, who has served as president and director of the West Suburban Irish and also as a parade announcer.
Parade chairman Chuck Corrigan said this year’s parade figures to be bigger than last year, thanks to some other area parades being held on different days.
“We had just under 100 floats last year, and it looks like we’ll be right around 110 this year,” Corrigan said. “There are some Shriner groups that are usually in the Elmhurst parade, but theirs is being held a week ahead of ours, so these Shriners are going to join us this year. We’re also going to have some bagpipe groups that will make this more visually attractive than before.”
Politicians will also be out in full force, Corrigan said, as the parade gives them a chance to meet voters and get out their message before the April 9 general election.
“We don’t take a political position, but we welcome the politicians that come out and support the parade and meet people,” he said. “The Irish are involved in politics, too.”
Corrigan said the West Suburban group is proud of the growth of the event after years, which began years ago very much as a grass-roots effort. He added that the parade has become “a very family friendly event.”
“We threw the parade together in about two months, and the route was just two blocks long,” he said. “Today the parade is just over a mile, and it’s one of the top five of its kind in the Chicago area. People come with their kids and dogs and really enjoy it. Hopefully the weather will be warm. We’ve already started planning for next year’s parade, as we had to submit a grant application to the city late last year in order to get grant money to cover the cost of police covering the event.”
On the same day, the West Suburban Irish group is helping the Rotary Club of Naperville Sunrise put on its annual 5K Race, Run, or Walk event, beginning earlier at 8 a.m. The race will begin and end at the intersection of Jackson and West Street near Centennial Beach. Applications for participation have been closed.