Home Illinois Hundreds turn out for St. Patrick’s Day parade on the Northwest Side...

Hundreds turn out for St. Patrick’s Day parade on the Northwest Side – Chicago Tribune


Steve Lombardi has been inviting friends and family to a house party during the Northwest Side St. Patrick’s Day Parade for 15 years.

“If your house is on the (parade) route, you should have a party,” said Lombardi, 54, who lives on Neola Avenue.

Cold, windy weather and light snow did not prevent hundreds of children, families and bright-eyed spectators from watching the parade, which was attended by 85 participants – from schools, businesses and trade unions.

The parade route started at William J. Elementary School. Onahana in Norwood Park and went south through a residential neighborhood on Neola Avenue before cutting north onto Northwest Highway and ending at Harlem Avenue. There were no rails for about a third of the parade route, and parade participants could shake hands and hand out candy to spectators.

Lombardi said what he liked most about the parade was being able to “enjoy it as an early spring event and see everyone after a long winter.”

Charlotte Richter, 48, came from Glenview and brought her two young children, Joseph and Henry, to the parade. “We come every year,” she said. “It’s so much fun,” she added, pointing to her children.

“And you’ll get candy,” 8-year-old Joseph teased her.

Climbing the hill along the parade route was no problem for the Shannon Rovers, a group that plays classic Irish music with bagpipes and drums. Men and women in kilts performed Irish classics and songs such as “When the Saints Go Marching In” while jumping and dancing along the route.

Parade organizer Elizabeth Murray-Belcaster said this year’s St. Patrick’s Day parade on the Northwest Side was the second since the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, “but it feels like the first” because she and her parents did all the preparation and support Daniel Murray usually gets. “Last year was rushed,” she added.

Afternoon briefing

Every day

Top articles from Chicago Tribune editors delivered to your inbox every day.

Murray-Belcaster said the parade originated in 2003 in honor of her late mother. This year’s parade is dedicated to the former principal of St. Patrick’s High School Brother Conrad Dieboldwho died in October.

The St. Patrick High School Band plays on the moving stage during the 20th annual Northwest Side St. Patrick's Day Parade on March 12, 2023.

Parade Humanitarian James D. Rodriguez, assistant secretary for employment and veterans training at the U.S. Department of Labor, said he was excited about the parade because, while he wasn’t at the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Chicago, he served in the Marines from Irish friends and have always appreciated Irish culture. He was driving a Chevrolet Camaro and throwing away candy.

The parade featured two marshals for the first time, with Sammy Davis and his wife, Dixie Davis, jointly holding the title. Sammy Davis, sometimes referred to as the “real-life Forrest Gump,” was awarded the Medal of Honor by former President Lyndon B. Johnson for his service in the Vietnam War. His story and footage of him being awarded the medal were the inspiration for the movie Forrest Gump.

Murray-Belcaster said Dixie Davis played a big role in her husband’s life, “and we never want to forget that,” she said. The couple handed out candy from a Buick LeSabre.

Parade Queens Caroline Passmore and Alice O’Connell said they were honored to be named Parade Queens. O’Connell said she’s been going to the parade since she was a kid, and when she saw the queens, “I always wanted to be like them.”

Passmore added that when she saw the queens as a child, she was “obsessed with the dresses.”



Previous articleThe Assyrian-inspired play highlights the struggles of immigrants
Next articleChicago Man files lawsuit against Buffalo Wild Wings