South Side Irish Parade Enjoys Big Turnout, No Arrests

The parade enjoyed its third year with no arrests after adopting a "zero tolerance" policy on alcohol

The South Side Irish Parade continued the St. Patrick's Day weekend celebrations Sunday by adding a third year to its zero-arrests record.

The annual event, which takes place in the Beverly neighborhood on the Far South Side, used to be known for its rowdiness, public drunkenness and high number of arrests. Parade organizers and Chicago Police cracked down on the mayhem in 2012 with a "zero tolerance" policy on alcohol, and the event has enjoyed zero arrests ever since.

The parade was canceled in 2010 and 2011 after 54 people were arrested at the 2009 event.

"Today was a great day for our entire community," said Tom McGourty, chairman of the South Side Irish Parade Committee. "The weather cooperated this year and it was a wonderful celebration of Irish culture and heritage. Everyone behaved themselves and had a good time."

Around 200,000 people attended the parade, and members of dozens of local businesses, parishes and high school bands joined the South Side Irish Parade Queen in the march down Western Avenue.

Members of the Irish American Labor Council, a committee with the AFL-CIO, led the parade. Mayoral candidate Jesus "Chuy" Garcia and Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined Governor Bruce Rauner in the event as well. The three politicians also marched in Saturday's parade.

The downtown St. Patrick's Day parade and the dyeing of the Chicago River was held Saturday.

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