It’s not a parade without politics. Mayor Sean McDermott and elected officials marched in the parade. So did their challengers. (Photos by Steve Metsch)
Wearing o’ the green: Countryside St. Paddy Parade colored a success
By Steve Metsch
St. Patrick’s Day arrived 13 days early in Countryside, but nobody was complaining.
The city’s seventh St. Patrick’s Day Parade was held on March 4 beneath cloudy and cool skies.
Many attending wore green. That included Zeva, a Boston terrier owned by Melanie Blando, 33, of Burr Ridge.
Zeva was in parade mode with a green T-shirt and a bandana reading “Bark If I’m Irish.”
This was Zeva’s parade debut.
“Last year, I brought my cats and they freaked out. They hated the sirens,” Blando said.
Blando’s favorite part of the parade is “all the different people participating in it.”
Family friend Ryan Schwartz, 13, of Countryside, who sat with Zeva and Blando, said, “Fire trucks are what I like best.”
Fire trucks with sirens blaring, pipe and drum bands playing Irish songs, politicians stumping for votes, Irish dancers and floats decorated by local organizations formed the parade that wound its way through the city.
But it’s more than a parade.
It’s a way for neighbors, friends and families to get together. For many, it’s a homecoming of sorts.
“We lived in La Grange, moved to the country 20 years ago, and we just moved back to Hodgkins,” Lee Colleran, 74, said.
She and husband Jim Bakos, 72, sat in lawn chairs along Brainard Avenue, just south of Plainfield Road.
“This is our first time at this parade,” said Colleran, who wore a green scarf she knitted as Bakos huddled under a green blanket.
It was hard to not notice Chad Pinne, 45, who stood out with his bright green beard and hat.
He and Alissa, his wife of 20 years, drove down from Waunakee, Wis., just north of Madison, for the parade.
“My sister lives here so we come down a lot. We have a niece who is an Irish dancer in the parade,” Alissa, 43, said.
They were very happy that Friday’s snowy forecast fizzled out.
Their niece – Julie Rehmer, 6, of Riverside – performed with the Harling School of Irish Dance several times during breaks in the parade.
Over In the 5600 block of Longview Drive, Susan Chrysokos, 63, and Travis McCluskey, 23, were among the many who enjoyed lunch served in the garage of Countryside City Clerk Liz Kmet.
“It’s a little chillier than last year, but – you know what – it’s just a great time with friends and family,” Chrysokos said.
“I love the parade. It’s wonderful. It’s almost the start of the new year. Party time,” she said.
McCluskey, who wore a green Blackhawks jersey bearing the name of Jonathan Toews and sipped a bottle of a Milwaukee export, said he never misses the parade.
“I like it a lot. It’s a whole lot of fun,” McCluskey said. “Not a lot of suburbs have crazy parades.”
Baseball | Chicago Christian kicks off Brandon Hickey era with win over Bremen
Spread the loveBy Steve Millar Correspondent Brandon Hickey is optimistic about his first season as head coach of the Chicago Christian baseball team. The Knights struggled to an 11-18-1 record last year, when Hickey was an assistant. But he saw some things to be excited about. “We saw we had a lot of talent last…
College Notebook | Marist grad Alex Knight slaying buckets for Lake Forest
Spread the loveBy Mike Walsh Correspondent Lake Forest College’s Alex Knight has been named to the All-Midwest Conference First Team in men’s basketball for the 2022-23 season. Knight, a 6-foot-1 sophomore guard who prepped at Marist, was the league’s leading scorer this season, averaging 18.1 points per conference game. He finished third in the MWC…
Pro Sports Report | SeatGeek to host Major League Rugby championship; Hounds sniff out first win
Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Staff Writer SeatGeek Stadium, host of the expansion Chicago Hounds, will host this season’s Major League Rugby championship game. The game is scheduled to be played July 8 in Bridgeview. It will air nationally on FOX. “Moving the championship match to a predetermined venue has long been a goal of…
Area Sports Roundup | Nazareth grads Martinucci, Evans have unfinished business at NJCAA National Tourney
Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Staff writer The Martinucci family carries a lot of weight in the Berwyn-Cicero area. Tony Martinucci has coached boys basketball at Morton High School for 24 years, racking up five regional titles and a trio of conference crowns during his tenure. His daughter, Jovanna, is hoping to do something even…
$15 million expansion for Stagg approved
Spread the loveFrom staff reports The Consolidated High School District 230 Board of Education last week approved a $15 million expansion at Amos Alonzo Stagg High School in Palos Hills. The expansion will include much-needed classroom space, several science labs, offices and teacher workspace, as well as a rooftop environmental learning space. The project is…
Lake Katherine goes green again for St. Patrick’s Day
Spread the love By Kelly White One of Lake Katherine Nature Center & Botanical Gardens’ most popular features is its large waterfall, which tumbles over four separate falls, travels a distance of over 300 feet and descends approximately 30 feet before joining the lake itself on the east side. With Irish festivities in full swing…
Shepard breaks record for Special Olympics fund raising
Spread the loveMostly through the traditional Polar Plunge, this year Shepard High School broke its record for fund raising for Special Olympics. More students and staff — including nearly all administrators, band director Chris Pitlik, and choir director Roland Hatcher — participated than ever. This year also featured a new fundraising vehicle: A pie-in-the-face contest. …
Area grade school teams win SWIC championships
Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Staff Writer Century Junior High School’s eighth grade boys basketball team had a target on its back all season. After enjoying an unbeaten campaign as seventh-graders, the Wildcats were the team everyone wanted to beat this season. Not one of them one did. Zedan Said made sure of it. The…
College Notebook | Area grads Hynes, McCormick earn honors
Spread the loveBy Mike Walsh Correspondent University of Chicago women’s basketball player Grace Hynes has been named to the 2022-23 University Athletic Association’s First Team. The Maroons senior guard, a Mother McAuley graduate, led Chicago to a 23-4 overall record through their first 27 games, and went 10-4 in the UAA, good enough for second…
Area Sports Roundup | EP football gets new coach; Morton women head back to nationals
Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Staff Writer For the second time in two weeks, an area high school football team is getting a new head coach. Evergreen Park announced Jim Ramazinski has been named to the position. He will replace Jerry Verde. Ramazinski comes to the Mustangs with a wealth of coaching and teaching experience.…
House passes bill prohibiting book bans
By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois House passed a bill Wednesday that would prohibit libraries from banning books or other material because of partisan or doctrinal pressure, prompting strong opposition from Republicans who called it an assault on local control. House Bill 2789 is an initiative of Democratic Secretary of…
ComEd’s former top lawyer paints Madigan confidant as ‘double agent’ in testimony
By HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois [email protected] CHICAGO – Being the longtime friend of longtime Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan granted Mike McClain certain privileges not afforded to other lobbyists in Springfield, jurors heard Tuesday in a federal corruption trial that, in part, centers around the relationship between the two. McClain “had pretty free access”…
House sends 41 bills to Senate as Friday legislative deadline looms
By Capitol News Illinois [email protected] The Illinois House passed 41 bills to the Senate Tuesday ahead of a scheduled Friday deadline. The measures, among others, included a ban on polystyrene food containers, bills focusing on gender inclusivity in state law and a requirement that expectant parents have a “duty” to split pregnancy-related costs, including for…
‘You’re a street fighter,’ Madigan confidant counseled former speaker: wiretapped call
By HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois [email protected] CHICAGO – Facing a perceived betrayal during a make-or-break election season in 2018, former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan called the person he often sought counsel from: longtime friend and confidant Mike McClain. Several Democratic candidates running for the state Senate were using lines in their campaign ads…
Lawmakers advance measure to regulate ride-shares as ‘common carriers’
By NIKA SCHOONOVER Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Lawmakers are considering a bill that would treat ride-share companies such as Uber and Lyft as “common carriers,” opening them up to the same level of liability as other forms of public transportation. House Bill 2231 passed on the House floor this week with a 73-36…
Nuclear option: Illinois grapples with the future of nuclear power
By ANDREW ADAMS Capitol News Illinois [email protected] CHICAGO – A measure allowing the construction of new commercial nuclear power plants has bipartisan, bicameral support in the state legislature as the body considers its next steps in meeting carbon-free energy goals while maintaining grid reliability. Its advocates say the measure would open the door for the…
Wiretaps show Madigan, through McClain, forced ally out of legislature to protect himself
By HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois [email protected] CHICAGO – In fall 2018, longtime former State Rep. Lou Lang, D-Skokie, received a phone call from Mike McClain, who had spent decades lobbying for electric utility Commonwealth Edison after 10 years in the General Assembly. McClain was delivering a message from House Speaker Michael Madigan, who was…
House panel debates ranked choice voting
By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Illinois lawmakers are debating whether the state should join a growing list of jurisdictions in the United States that allow voters to pick more than one candidate for an office, ranking them in order of preference rather than choosing just one. Ranked choice voting, or as…
Madigan looms large in trial of ex-ComEd lobbyists, exec
By HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois [email protected] CHICAGO – Former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan isn’t set to go on trial for racketeering and corruption charges until next summer, but his decades of power in Illinois government and politics loomed large Wednesday as opening arguments got underway in a related case. Madigan’s name was uttered…
Transit agencies look to the state to help make up projected $730 million budget gap
By ANDREW ADAMS Capitol News Illinois [email protected] CHICAGO – Officials with the state’s largest transit agencies met with lawmakers on Tuesday to sound the alarm for what Regional Transportation Authority Executive Director Leanne Redden called a “looming operational crisis.” “By 2026, the region will face an annual budget deficit of nearly $730 million per year,”…
Leave a Comment