South Side Irish Parade to be Canceled?

Growing up in Beverly on the South Side of Chicago, I remember how closeknit the community was, how the adults around knew all the kids and all the kids knew each other, something I chafed at sometimes but later came to appreciate. Sometimes the near-suburban, half social-climbers, half white-trash neighborhood could be boring as hell, which is why a lot of kids like me ended up smoking epic amounts of pot and driving home drunk from keggers in the woods and the cemeteries (i didnt personally engage in the latter, but you could find me drunk in alleys and pissing in parks on occasion). you know, good times. There were also plenty of goody-goodys who spent their time in Beverly and the surrounding area engaging in little league, where I sold hotdogs at my first job when I was 14, burning up in the sun but coming home with a fat fistful of cash so long as I lied about my age and didnt eat too many tons of free skittles (and, you know, sold the hotdogs). There was also the Beverly Art Center, where the local Future Queers of America found their calling on stage, and so on and so forth. But the one time a year when the 'hood really comes together is the South Side Irish Parade. Every year, around February, I start getting excited, gettin ready to get riled, see my old homeboys, many of whom still live in the old neighborhood, most of them with mom and dad but some starting families of their own. My old enemies, best friends, so on and so forth. The South Side Irish Parade isn't just an Irish pride parade, it's a South Side Pride parade, a neighborhood fest. As a kid we'd come out to see the floats, hear the bag pipers, eat tons of candy. aS teens, we got wasted and caused trouble. As old fuddy duddys, I looked forward to the day I'd come back for a cook-out and, you know, boring fuddy duddy standing around. Shit, what is this moisture coming into my eyes as I write this? Could it be possible, that in my lifetime, they're gonna take it all away? goddamm bastards. There's no freedom anymore. Why this very year some cop made me dump my beer! Why can't they just let people celebrate, fuck eachother up, fuck property up, and whatnot, once a goddam year? Everyone knows that the cops turn a blind eye to most of the goings on, and I guess the aging committee just doesn't wanna deal with fights and property damage, but I hardly think that the chaos has truly increased (with a mere 53 arrests, a new record) so much as that the city / the neighborhood is getting stricter on folks. I say to hell with it, if someone wants to drink, let them drink, if they wanna fight, let 'em fight, if they fuck up your property, you know who they are and where they live, go to their house and fuck up their garage! shit. or else, get the cops really out there, really enforce the law, stop bringing in a bunch of northsiders who don't know shit and don't have anyone to visit (after the parade, most southsiders head to someone's house to hang out), extend the route to spread out the crowd, get more folks on the comittee, etc. etc, but don't destroy a beautiful annual tradition. If they insist on not holding the parade, I propose that we continue to show up in full force and give 'em hell every year. We're the South Side Irish as our Fathers were before, we're Irish to the core, and we ain't gonna take it no more! -HK

South Side Irish Parade Home http://www.southsideirishparade.org/


Interested in saving the parade?

(1) Write to Alderman Ginger Rugai (more importantly, get her actual voting constituents to write her!) and tell her what you think.

(2) Write to the South Side Irish planning comittee and tell them what you think. (website above).

(3) If someone were to get a group together to solve this issue, hold an "alternative" event for example, they could easily get support from the Unions, the Bars, and the citzenry, and all they'd have to do is get a permit (that'd be the biggest obstacle), and the kicker would be that there would naturally be less people. Or we could simply resign ourselves to not having a parade and get with the "alt" celebrations and have a good time and enjoy our old hood anyway. If anyone's planning something, let me know.

(4) Fuck it- write to the goddamm Mayor! write to fuckin' Obama! chain yourself to the Beverly Art Center! Go on Drinking Strike (like a hunger strike, only you promise to keep drinking til you get your way, which could lead to alcohol poisoning if done properly).

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