Today the South Side Irish Parade kicked off the start of this Irish Celebration of culture and heritage. The parade was started almost 35 years ago by the “wee folks” of the streets of Washtenaw and Talman (which happens to be my street). The parade was founded by young irish families that proudly celebrate their irish culture. They would march up and down those streets in decorated wagons, bikes and on foot proudly wearing their green shirts, hats and beads waving to their neighbors as they passed by. With the strong irish community in Beverly and Mt. Greenwood the parade expanded to nearly 150,000 to one of the most celebrated events on the south side. It also graduated to Western Ave where over 100 organizations march from 103rd street to 115th street.
People of all ages, races, and ethnicities come out to line the streets of Western Ave. in Beverly with lawn chairs and blankets to watch in this event. Yes, the “wee folks ” of Washtenaw and Talman still March in the parade, but now those “wee folks” are grown and are marching with their grown children and grandchildren. The parade has expanded to decorated floats and trolley cars with kids wearing lots of green, Shannon Rover pipes and drums playing South Side Irish Songs, High School marching bands, Irish dancers in their decorative dance dresses with their curls bobbing up and down, and of course politicians. Vendors are seen walking up and down the street selling green beads, hats, shirts and even green cotton candy.
St. Patrick’s Day is a day when everyone is Irish. Either by association ( knowing someone that is Irish) or Location (living in an irish community). For me I am a little of both, but I also have a very “wee” bit of irish in me.