Chicago holiday spotlight: St. Patrick’s Day

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Dyeing the river green is just the beginning — Chicago is a city that knows how to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day! The city has always had a large Irish-American population; in 1860, it had the fourth-largest Irish immigrant population in the United States. To this day, several neighborhoods throughout the city have large Irish-American populations, from Beverly on the far south side to Bridgeport on the near south side to Rogers Park on the north side. In fact, 12 of Chicago’s mayors have been of Irish descent, and Chicago is home to two top Catholic universities with strong ties to Irish immigration in the city – Loyola and DePaul.

As a result of all this Irish cultural pride, St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago is one of the biggest celebrations of the year. In addition to the famous “greening” of the Chicago River, the city sponsors a large and popular parade downtown, complete with a parade queen. Not to be outdone, the south-side neighborhood of Beverly sponsors the South Side Irish parade, which draws thousands of spectators from throughout the Midwest to celebrate the famous snake-repelling saint. For a healthy way to celebrate, sign up for the famous St. Paddy’s Day 5K and 8K Run/Walk. The Irish-American center in Irving Park sponsors a St. Patrick’s Day Festival, featuring traditional food, music and dancing for the whole family. And throughout the city, there is plenty of corned beef and cabbage at parties and pub crawls sponsored by bars and restaurants.

Whatever your preferred style of celebration, you have endless options in Chicago to don your green and toast the patron saint of Ireland! Céad míle fáilte! (English translation: A hundred thousand welcomes!)