South Side Irish Parade Returns As A More Family-Friendly Affair (PHOTOS)
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The South Side Irish parade returned Sunday after a two-year hiatus, and organizers said the revamped parade was a success.
The popular parade, which dates back to 1979 and is held in the city's Beverly neighborhood, was canceled by the city in 2009 after residents of the Southwest Side neighborhood complained about the hordes of drunk and unruly youths and a spike in assaults against police officers.
Parade organizers implemented a security plan and a zero-tolerance alcohol policy. Hundreds of security officers along the parade route was also part of the deal.
"The Parade Committee set out to recast and reclaim its beloved parade, and with the help of Chicago's finest accomplished that in aces," a parade committee spokesman said a statement. "Tradition marches on."
About 150,000 gathered Sunday for the 11 a.m. parade, and NBC Chicago reports that only one misdemeanor arrest was made the entire day.
Mary Hendry, whose husband helped start the Beverly/Morgan Park-area tradition in 1979, told the Chicago Sun-Times she was impressed with the Sunday event.
“Maybe the little hiatus helped people understand it’s for family and children, not drinking and revelry,” Hendry said.
Check out photos of the 2012 parade here, all by Ken Gilbertsen. Did you go to the revamped South Side parade? Tell us about it in the comments.