Irish parade fundraising halfway home
By Mike Nolan email@example.com February 6, 2012 9:30PM
South Side Irish St. Patrick’s Day Parade organizers said area businesses such as restaurants and bars have paid to be parade sponsors, and Guinness and Bud Light have signed on to be corporate sponsors. | File photo
Parade office opens
Organizers of the South Side Irish St. Patrick’s Day Parade have opened an office at 10934 S. Western Ave., next to O’Brien’s Irish Pub, that will sell parade banners and yard signs. The storefront will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to noon on Saturdays and noon to 3 p.m.Sundays.
More information is available by calling (773) 779-5913 or visiting www.southsideirishparade.org.
Updated: March 8, 2012 8:13AM
Organizers of the resurrected South Side Irish St. Patrick’s Day Parade say they are more than halfway toward their goal of raising $200,000 to pay for the event.
The parade’s chairman, Joe Connelly, said Monday that area businesses such as restaurants and bars have paid to be parade sponsors, and Guinness and Bud Light have signed on to be corporate sponsors.
Connelly said organizers are waiting to hear from city officials about what they’ll have to pay for costs such as street barricades and post-parade cleanup.
“We have been told to expect an increase in those (costs), although it has not yet been communicated what that increase will be,” he said.
Although nearly $100,000 still needs to be raised, he expressed confidence that the parade’s return was on track.
“The parade being a reality is 100 percent,” Connelly said. “We have a lot of work ahead of us, but I don’t think this year is any different than prior years as far as where we are in the plan.”
The parade is scheduled to step off at 11 a.m. March 11 at 103rd Street and Western Avenue in the Beverly community.
The parade last was held in 2009, after which parade committee members voted to pull the plug, yielding to complaints that throngs of drunken and rowdy spectators had ruined a family-friendly event that started in 1979.
The $200,000 budget is double that of past years, with much of the increase allocated to paying a private security firm to ensure that the parade route is a booze-free zone.
Organizers are spending $80,000 to hire Safety Service Systems, which provides security at Bears games and will search coolers and bags for alcoholic beverages.
Along with that firm and Chicago police, members of labor unions are volunteering to serve as parade marshals to augment security, Connelly said.
He said the parade committee is following a “zero-tolerance policy” regarding open containers of alcohol along the parade route, with a previously stated goal of having an alcohol-free parade.
Although the parade is being financed largely with the help of the two well-known beer brands, Connelly said event organizers aren’t sending a mixed message. He said the contract with City Beverage, the beer distributor for Guinness and Bud Light, prohibited him from disclosing financial terms.
Guinness and Bud Light will use their sponsorship of the parade “to help promote their responsible-drinking campaigns, and they think it dovetails nicely with our zero-tolerance policy,” he said.