South Side Irish Parade Draws Thousands

Rainy weather didn't keep thousands of Chicagoans from crowding the city's South Side Streets Sunday to celebrate the South Side Irish Parade.

Parade-goers celebrated the second successful celebration after a two-year hiatus due to previous issues with rowdy, drunken crowds and also honored current and fallen Chicago-area first responders.

"The people of Chicago really appreciate what they do," said Diane Patmon, wife of recently fallen Chicago firefighter Walter Patmon. "This is a time to actually celebrate."

Chicago's Irish celebrators crammed the streets in what many said is a much more "family-oriented" event. 

"It got pretty crazy after a few years, but now it seems more family oriented," said parade-goer Dawn Podworny. "It's a lot of fun."

Parade officials implemented strict drinking rules for this year's festivities and violators could face charges of up $1,000 and six months in jail if they don't pay.

Co-Chair of the parade Kevin Coakley said they expected an incident-free event.

"This is about being from the neighborhood, being irish and celebrating our heritage," he said,

Sen. Dick Durbin was among the honored walkers in the parade.

"It's a much better orientation," he said. "This is a great event for Chicago. One of the best."

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