By Joan Hadac
Editor and Publisher
Southwest Chicago Post
A city neighborhood once known as a Polish bastion—and now known increasingly for its Hispanic influx--will host
an Irish-themed parade again this year.
The Clear-Ridge Men’s Social Athletic Club (SAC)'s parade is scheduled to step off at noon Saturday, March 16 at Archer and Oak Park, march east on Archer to Narragansett and then south to the Kennedy High School parking lot. The event will be held rain or shine.
"This parade gets a little bigger and more popular every year, because it’s all about family fun," said SAC member Dave Monahan, who founded the parade in 2015 with James M. Sweeney, President-Business Manager of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150.
A union electrician and Garfield Ridge homeowner, Monahan said the parade was founded simply and almost informally “by guys from the neighborhood, union guys who wanted to do something good for the community.”
The Clear-Ridge Men’s SAC is currently about 200 men strong, Monahan said. It maintains a relatively low profile in the area, doing good deeds quietly for those in need.
Clearing and Garfield Ridge families—as well as non-profits
like groups associated with local churches, schools, parks, Little Leagues, Scout troops, civic leagues, neighborhood watches and such—are welcome to organize a marching unit or float and be in the parade.
Local businesses are also welcome to be a part of the fun.
There is an entry fee of $250 for political candidates and parties, as well as individuals and organizations outside the neighborhood. Sponsorships also are available, ranging from $500 to $2,500.
Proceeds will benefit Misericordia, which since 1921 has provided care and a range of services to people with developmental disabilities.
“This is all about the neighborhood, and we aim to keep it that way,” said Monahan, who grew up in the neighborhood, attending St. Symphorosa School and St. Joseph High School in Westchester. He and his wife have raised their family in St. Daniel the Prophet Parish.
In response to a question, Monahan said a St. Patrick’s Day parade in Garfield Ridge is something he could not have imagined as a kid. “We’d sometimes go to the downtown parade or the other one [in Beverly],” he recalled. “But hey, times change—and besides, everyone can be Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, right?”
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