Tuesday, March 17, 2009

OUTDOOR WEDNESDAY: St. Patrick's Day, Chicago Style

St. Patrick's Day in Chicago is always celebrated in an "over the top" sort of way, as you can see illustrated in the above photo. Where else can you see an entire river dyed green? It is said that the road from Chicago to Ireland is paved in water, from the Chicago River to the Illinois River, from the Mississippi to the Gulf shores of the Atlantic, straight through to the Emerald Island itself...
Every St. Patrick's Day since the mid 1960's, forty pounds of vegetable dye is dropped into the Chicago River to start our great city's celebration. The dye will last only a few hours, but it is incredible to see!



Once I learn to maneuver my kayak on the lake, I am going to join these guys!



On the South Side of Chicago, we don't have a green river, but we do have Western Avenue and every year it plays host to one of the largest parades outside of Dublin. It is held every year on the Sunday before St. Patrick's Day. Being here on that day is sort of like being in New Orleans on Fat Tuesday. It's either the place you want to be or the place you want to avoid!
This year there were 15,000 marchers, 120 floats and a whopping 340,000 spectators! The temperature was in the high 60's and that alone was enough reason to grab your baby, drag the dog and head out toward Western Avenue. And good luck getting close to the parade! We live about 8 blocks away and this is where the police roadblocks start. So it's on foot or bike!




I've never had a view from up in the bleachers but it sure looks like fun!






Oops! (they're shrinking!). Moving on...





Ahhh...the infamous Cork & Kerry! Blondie has passed away some very merry time in this little pub! One year after the parade we actually got in to the bar, which is a feat unto itself. A group of bagpiper's came marching in and wove in and out of the tables playing their Irish tunes. Oh, I thought I had died and gone to...Ireland!!







The flags put a mighty lump in my throat, how about you?









Sunday marked the 31st year of the South Side Irish Parade. This little guy looks like he has been to all of them! :-)








According to Papa O'Hara, the South Side is approximately 70% Irish. Papa retired as a Captain of the Chicago Fire Department after almost 50 years of duty. He doesn't go to the parade anymore, but living just two blocks from it is almost like being there.











My girl's were dressed in their green t-shirts, beads and glitter and out the door by 9:00 a.m. on the day of the parade. People actually start taking their places on the parade route as early as dawn. The streets are barricaded off just after 9:00 mass ends.











The parade itself only lasts a little over an hour but the celebration goes on and on! Cabs line up outside the bars on Western all evening, giving rides for free.












The Husband and I spent the afternoon celebrating with our friends Reggie (Mike) and Maureen at their home, which is a block away from the parade. Sitting on their front porch basking in the unseasonably warm weather, we sipped cold ale and listened to the drumbeats and cheers from the crowds. Helicopters whirled overhead, video taping the events for the evening news. Later we went inside for Mo's incredible corned beef, cabbage, boiled potatoes and carrots and brown bread (her grandmother's recipe). She also served us homemade Irish Cream. It is 10 times better than Bailey's!! I could really imagine topping off my coffee with this every morning! Finally, for dessert being only 3/4 Irish, I supplied a vanilla cream pie!
We went home satisfied and full, shed our green t-shirts, beads and bracelets, washed the glitter off our faces and settled down to watch the day's events on the news. I turned to The Husband and said, "I wonder what they are doing over in Ireland"!
I hope everybody had a blessed and wonderful St. Patrick's Day! Happy Outdoor Wednesday! Please visit Susan at A Southern Daydreamer to see her post for today and a list of all the participants sharing in Outdoor Wednesday! :-)
xoxo
Janie




























34 comments:

mbkatc230 said...

Big boo hoo here - there is nothing, and I mean nothing, like Chicago on St. Patrick's Day. Thank you SO much for sharing these and bringing back some great memories! Hugs, Kathy

Susan @ A Southern Daydreamer said...

Happy Outdoor Wednesday Janie! Chicago does it up right for St Patrick's day! Loved the parade!
Thanks for sharing your photos.

Susan

Cynthia said...

Hi Janie,
What a great post! I love all the pics of green and the river is the best, I sure would like to be there today. How fun, Cindy

prof en retraite said...

Ohhhh! That looks like so much fun!!! We have a celebration here in Georgia, too...in Savannah...and they dye the river, too. But I believe yours tops ours in the fun element...wish I could be there!!...Debbie

PatQ said...

You must live in Beverly. I have a friend that lives close to that bar.

Melissa Miller said...

This looks like alot of fun!
Always reminds me of the movie Ferris Bueller for some reason.
I hope you had a good St Pat's Day.

Your new blog design is stunning! Love it!

Patti Cakes said...

What beautiful green pictures. Just dropping by before going to bed. My best friends do not live close to me so I end up doing everything by myself. I can never get hubster to go but I think it's fun getting outdoors. Have a wonderful Thursday.
Big hugs.

xinex said...

What a fun day, Janie! Chicago really does celebrate!...Christine

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Hey, precious! I've been missing your posts! I'm glad to see you here today. :-) And what a great post! Loved seeing that river turned green. So, THAT'S how they do that! COOL!

Glad you had a Happy St. Paddy's day. Wishing you all the best for a wonderful evening of rest...

Love to ye, lassie! And Erin go braugh!

XO,

Sheila :-)

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Oh, and Happy Outdoor Wednesday, Janie! :-)

XO,

Sheila

ellen b said...

Blondie! How fabulous. I'd love to experience St.Patrick's Day in Chicago once in my lifetime. Too bad I didn't think of that while my daughter was at Wheaton for 3 semesters!! Oh well..Happy O.W. to you.

Bo said...

Hi Janie...this was the funnest parade/celebration I've been to today! It must be an absolute riot to be there in person. I loved your fun commentary too that you had along with your great photos.
Happy St. Pat's! ;-) Bo

Lisa Shatzer said...

Wow, that green river is so cool!
I hope to visit Chicago sometime during St. Patrick's day so I can see it in person. Thanks for the great photos.

kbbryant said...

Hey, that was so fun to see. I really enjoyed your photos. I had the most boring celebration here. I wore my green sweatshirt to the grocery store! Looks like Chicago was the place to be.

Kathy b

Fifi Flowers said...

That would be a GREAT event to take part in... PRETTY GREEN river!

MyThoughtsMyVoice said...

Wow! I sure would love to see the green river :-)

It must have been quite a blast! Just look at those people and dog :-)

A 4-leaf clover is the one said to be lucky, right? I hope you found one.

Chandy said...

With all these wonderful pictures and Irish recipes on blogland, I'm looking forward to next year! Great pictures to share today! I love them all! Happy Wednesday!

curtissann said...

Thanks for the 'tour' of St. Patty's in Chicago. Almost like being there. Amazing about the water. Aren't people clever?

rosabeer said...

The photos of St. Patrick's day are great.
greetings from Holland

Lori said...

Thanks for sharing your great St. Partick's day photos with us.. I does seem like Mardi Gras...

Charlene said...

WHAT A BLAST! Thanks for sharing! LOVED IT!

Smilingsal said...

Incredible! Thanks for sharing.

sunnymama said...

The green river photos are incredible! What a fun day!

The English Cottage Collection said...

Thanks so much for this amazing journey through Chicago's Saint Patricks Day!! I have never seen such wonderful personal pictures and I'm so wanting to go now!! What a blast and once again thanks for taking the time to take photos and share ... PS the river is gorgeous, you go girl for that kayak!!!

Deanna said...

Wow, I love it! We didn't do anything like that here in San Antonio..there was a small Irish band at Market Square and lots of Irish food but no parade...(sob). I'm glad you had a great time!

Deanna :D

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Beautiful Pear Tree Lane said...

Just love these pictures, I thing putting vegetable color in the river is so awesome.
thank you for sharing.
Blessings,
Sue

Pam said...

I have heard so much at St. Patrick's Day celebrations in Chicago! It looks like so much fun. The river is awesome.

xinex said...

Thanks for coming by to see my Wed. post, Janie! The picture next to the Superbowl Disney picture is my daughter Tina when she was 9 wearing her Superbowl Hawaiian costume. You can click on it to see the details. The seamstress who sewed it is the official seamstress for Disney...Christine

Lisa said...

Janie, it looks like you had a great time at the parade! My father-in-law is from Chicago, and we were there about 12 years ago for a family reunion.

I'm sad to say there's nothing like that in my neck of the woods - the closest thing is Savannah.

Thanks for sharing the great pictures, and for visiting my blog.

Lisa

Laura @ the shorehouse. said...

I never knew about the dying of the water until Michelle Obama had the fountains at the White House dyed green to remind her of home. Fun!

In answer to your comment on my blog…I think one of the best albums is Nebraska. I like “Old School” Bruce. I wasn’t even a Bruce fan really until after college – I grew up in NY but moved to NJ where you have to like Bruce. :-) And now that I’m by Asbury Park…it’s practically compulsory! SO – he *was* practicing in the Convention Center on the boardwalk today!! There were groupies lined up – I took pictures b/c I think that’s the closest I’ll ever get to seeing him in his “natural habitat,” lol! I stayed for about 30 minutes until I realized how ridiculous I was acting. ;-)

Hope you’re enjoying the weekend. It’s FREEZING here!

Amongst The Oaks said...

Hi Janie,
my husband was in Chicago for St. Patrick's Day many years ago and he told me they dyed the river green. It was hard to imagine, but your photos are excellent. What a crazy thing to do.
We used to have a bar here in town called the Shamrock. We spent a few Paddy's Days there drinking green beer. Oh, those were the good old days.
Laura

Janie's World said...

Wow! What a great time to be had by all. You are so lucky you have a distinct heritage and a great one at that. If I could chose a country to be from (other than the good ol' USA) it would be Ireland. I did name my youngest daughter Delaney Shannon - I tell her every ST. Patricks day that she is Irish!

Terrie's Lil' Piece of Serenity said...

What is the weather like there? We have a blizzard heppening right now! Brrrr.....