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Dekker: Tinley Park’s Irish Parade a sure sign that spring is here

Julie Dekker

Julie Dekker

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Updated: April 3, 2014 6:14AM



This past week’s miserably cold weather (averaging 20 to 30 degrees below the normal high temperature) notwithstanding, the calendar is on our side as we turn to March — aware that we’ll soon be permanently removed from the grasp of stubborn Ol’ Man Winter.

And not a moment too soon, if you ask me. I did enjoy seeing all the snow, but I’m more than ready to lose the heavy coats and boots and dive into what we all hope will be a warm and wonderful spring.

And a major harbinger of spring in Tinley Park is the 15th annual Irish Parade downtown, which this year is March 9, stepping off at 2 p.m. from Central Middle School, 181st Street and Oak Park Avenue and proceeding north to 171st Street. What better way to shake off cabin fever and get out and have some fun than a parade?

The parade features floats, community groups, schools and bands, creating quite a celebration. There’s also plenty to do before and after the parade as well.

The Vogt Visual Arts Center, 17420 S. 67th Court, will again host its Irish tea from noon to 2 p.m. Enjoy a variety of Irish teas, cheeses and pastries in the comfort of the historical Henry Vogt home, just steps away from the parade route. This event is free.

Many of the downtown restaurants are featuring delicious Irish fare and live music on parade day. For example, Ed and Joe’s Pizzeria will be celebrating with corned beef and cabbage, music by the band Billy Boys and an impressive new line of craft beers.

Tinley Park VFW Post 2791, at 17147 Oak Park Ave., will be partying from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m., with live music by Joe McShane and the Blackbird dancers of Tinley Park. The Band of Brothers Pipe and Drum group will join the party after the parade to entertain as well. The post will offer corned beef sandwiches, hot dogs and more along with a cash bar.

The village has created a story map for parade day to make it easy for you to find out everything that’s happening in downtown Tinley Park. Every business that’s offering a special event or promotion will be listed.

The story map will be available through community email, the Experience Downtown Tinley newsletter, Facebook and more. You can sign up to receive emails on the village’s website (www.tinleypark.org), and you can arrange to receive the Experience Downtown Tinley newsletter at www.downtowntinley.com.

Another major event on March 9 is the Tinley Park Park District’s 5th annual Running O’ The Green 8K Walk/Run, which starts at 8 a.m. at the Bettenhausen Recreation Center, 8125 W. 171st St. Pre-registration is over, but you can register on race day from 7 to 8 a.m.

The entry fee is $30. Please note that credit cards will not be accepted on race day. For complete information, visit www.tinleyparkdistrict.org or call (708) 342-4200.

And an important reminder — daylight savings time begins at 2 a.m. March 9 so plan accordingly so you don’t show up to an event an hour early.

I can’t think of a better way to jump into springtime that Tinley Park’s Irish Parade day events. And let’s hope Mother Nature cooperates. After what she has put us through this winter, it’s the least she can do!



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