Celebrate Saint Patrick and Irish culture

 

Chicago River turns Green to celebrate Saint Patrick. (Photo courtesy of City of Chicago)
Chicago River turns Green to celebrate Saint Patrick. (Photo courtesy of City of Chicago)

 

Wear something green on March 17, the date Saint Patrick died in the fifth century. But if you want to watch a parade in his honor or see the Chicago River turn green you’ll want to start celebrating St. Patrick’s Day the weekend before the anniversary date.

Chicago River Dyed Green

On Saturday, March 12, 2022, start your celebration near Chicago’s Mag Mile at the Michigan Avenue Bridge, Wacker Drive on the south bank or the  Riverwalk on the north bank.

That is where the Chicago Journeymen Plumbers Local Union 130 work their secret formula magic each year between Columbus Drive and Wabash Avenue, Saturday morning before Chicago’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

Typically using two motor boats and usually starting about 10 a.m., union members pour and disperse gallons of an orange-colored environmentally-safe vegetable powder into the water.

The process takes about 45 minutes and draws a big crowd so if you go you’ll want to get to the area early for a good vantage point.

Originally started in 1962 using a fluorescent dye that made the water green for a few weeks, the dying process was changed to an eco-friendly powder that turned the river green for a few hours.

Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Next, head to Columbus Drive for the Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade. It begins at 12:15 p.m. at Balbo Drive and continues north to Monroe Drive.

Expect to see floats, Irish dancers, bagpipers and bands including the Shannon Rovers Irish Pipe Band which has been leading the parade since 1956. Then, you will hear lots of applause as representatives of the 2022 theme, Chicagoland’s Essential Workers, march into view.  Of course there will be city, state and US politicians. For more info visit  St. P:atrick’s Day Parade org.

Irish American Heritage Center Fest

Wind up at the St. Patrick Festival at Irish American Heritage Center for good food, beer and entertainment from 1 to 11:30 p.m. While there absorb Irish culture in its museum.  Find tickets and more information at Irish American Heritage Center (irish-american.org) (Children welcome and ages 11 and under have free admission.

South Side Irish Parade

The St. Patrick salutes continue on Sunday, March 13 with the popular South Side Irish Parade in the Beverly neighborhood of Chicago at noon.

A family-friendly parade, it began as a really small, kids only parade by a couple of neighbors in 1979.  However, it grew and grew to become so  popular across the Chicago area attendance disrupted its Beverly neighborhood until restrictions on parking and drinking were put in place.

So go but observe neighborhood requests. The parade is on Western Avenue from 103rd Street to 115th Street. For more information visit Home – South Side Irish Parade

Northwest Side Irish

If  Northwest is more your location, consider the Northwest Side Irish Parade March 13 that also beings at noon. It goes from Neola Avenue to Northwest Highway.

A fun, community event, the parade winds through Chicago’s Norwood Park neighborhood. It begins at the William J. Onahan School, goes south on Neola venue to Northwest Highway and then heads north to Harlem Avenue. There is an after parade party at Zia’s Social.  Visit  Northwest Side Irish Parade.

You might hear Céad mile fáite  (A hundred thousand welcomes) n or Erin Go Bragh (Braugh)  roughly meaning Ireland til the end of time, there or at the Irish Heritage Center.

Jodie Jacobs

 

Celebrating Saint Paddy

Chicago turns its river green in honor of St. Patrick's Day and the Irish. (Photo courtesy of City of Chicago)
Chicago turns its river green in honor of St. Patrick’s Day and the Irish. (Photo courtesy of City of Chicago)

On Tuesday, March 17, 2020, claim a little Irish blood. Wear something green. Say Sláinte for cheers and toast Éire go Brách! (Ireland forever). But you don’t have to wait until March 17, the commemorative date of St. Patrick’s death to celebrate his feast day.

Chicago celebrates this patron saint of Ireland with parades, multiple pub toasts, Irish dancing, music, special boat cruises and of course, the famed turning of the Chicago River green several days before the official date.

The festival, concert and river scene

Siamsa Na Ngael celebration at Symphony Center, 220 S.. Michigan Ave. brings Celtic music, dance and stories to the Chicago symphony’s home, March 11.

House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn St., Chicago, features the famed Gaelic Storm on March 13-14.

March 13-15 Cruises take off from Navy Pier and Michigan Avenue docks to the sounds of Irish music and tour the Chicago River or watch it turn green. For March 14’s river dyeing event check with Wendella for a 21 and older cruise and a kids cruise.  Or visit Shoreline Sightseeing’s Architecture River Cruises that celebrate Saint Paddy’s weekend by also learning about Chicago’s buildings. Other cruise choices are to see what the Spirit of Chicago Lunch Cruise has on the menu for March 14 or consider the inaugural St. Patrick’s Day Clover Cruise to watch the river change color, March 14.

Irish American Heritage Festival  is the annual popular place to head for food, drinks, good Irish dancers and good bands when the City of Chicago parade is over on Saturday. The Heritage Center is at 4626 N Knox Ave. Tickets are needed for the festival which goes from 1 to 11:59 p.m.

Shamrock on the Block is another popular post Saturday parade spot for food, drinks and entertainment. It’s like a large block party outside Old St. Pats Church at 700 W. Adams St.

River Dyeing happens at 9 a.m. March 14 along Wacker Drive between Columbus Drive and State Street. To watch from the Michigan Avenue Bridge or the walkways, get there early because the event normally attracts crowds.

The parades

City of Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade is considered the largest of its kind in the U.S. Beginning at noon, politicians, floats, bagpipers, dancers and bands take three hours to go north on Columbus Drive from Balbo to Monroe Drives.

Southside Irish Parade on March 15 is a neighborhood, family-friendly parade that draws from other areas. Once canceled because of drinking there is a strictly enforced no drinking policy in the neighborhood and along the parade route which  goes along Western Avenue from 103 rd  St. to 115th.St. The parade steps off at noon.

Northwest Side Irish Parade starts at noon at the William J. Onahan School then goes south on Neola Avenue to Northwest Highway then north to Harlem Avenue. Parade watchers often go to a post parade party at St. Thecla Falcon Hall, 6725 W. Devon Ave,. for food, drinks and entertainment from 1 to 5 p.m.

Sláinte

Jodie Jacobs

 

 

St Pats 2019 planner

Chicago turns its river green to honor St. Patrick on the day of the city's parade. (City of Chicago photo)
Chicago turns its river green to honor St. Patrick on the day of the city’s parade. (City of Chicago photo)

Time to search for something green, sharpen up you Irish speak (Erin go Bragh), figure out your timing to see the Chicago River turn green, and hoist one for the ol’ sod when everyone is a little bit Irish on March 16-17, 2019.

This Weekend:

If itching to watch high-stepping dancers and bag-pipe-blowing marchers consider heading over to Elmhurst this Saturday, March 9, for their 23rd annual St. Pats Parade. The parade starts at Wilson Street and Spring Road at noon. Tinley Park holds its annual parade March 10 at 1 p.m. at 179th street and Oak Park Avenue.

 

Next Weekend:

Downtown

The bridge and river overlooks at Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive fill fast before the boat carrying the environmentally safe mixture is poured into the Chicago River at 9 a.m, Saturday, March 16, to turn it green. So, use public transportation, get there early and try to find a spot east of Michigan Avenue on either Upper or Lower Wacker Drive.

A few hours later, Chicago’s 64th Plumbers Local 130 sponsored St. Pat’s Parade steps off a noon at the other end of downtown on Columbus Drive at Balbo and continues north to Monroe Street on the east side of the Art Institute of Chicago. If you can’t get downtown, watch it live on ABC Channel 7.

Mid-North

To hear good Irish vocals, see more Irish dancing and get a taste of Ireland visit the Irish-American Heritage Center after the parade at 4626 N Knox Ave. Chicago. You will likely be greeted with cafe Céad Mile Failte, a hundred thousand welcomes.  The event goes to midnight on Saturday and continues on Sunday from noon to 11 p.m. For performer listing and times and tickets call (773) 282-7035 and visit Irish-American Org.

South

The South Side Irish Parade is on Sunday, March 17. It starts at noon on Western Avenue at 103rd Street and continues south to 115th Street. Remember no drinking while attending this neighborhood parade.

Northwest

The other popular neighborhood parade is the Northwest Side Irish which begins at noon from Onahan School at 6634 W. Ryan St. Party afterwards at Immaculate Conception’s rec center at 7271 W.Talcott until 5. More info at NorthwestsideIrish.

Sláinte!

Jodie Jacobs