Friday, February 9, 2024

Get Ready to Go Green

St. Patrick’s Day Parade returns to Garfield Ridge 

By Tim Hadac
Managing Editor
Southwest Chicago Post

For the third year in a row, a person hailed as a hero for bravery and sacrifice will be saluted at the Chicago Working Families’ Archer Avenue St. Patrick’s Day parade, set for Saturday, March 16.
Officer Vásquez Lasso

Chicago Police Officer Andrés Vásquez Lasso, 32, a five-year member of the force, was shot and killed March 1, 2023 as he pursued a man with gun (who had reportedly threatened a woman) near 53rd and Spaulding. Eyewitness accounts said that Officer Vásquez Lasso’s actions may have saved the woman, as well as children playing at a nearby playground.

He is survived by his wife, mother and sister.

“We’re proud to have Officer Vásquez Lasso as the parade’s honorary grand marshal this year,” said parade spokesperson Krissy Kavanagh. “He’s truly a hero, and his ultimate sacrifice should be remembered and honored by everyone.”

She said Officer Vásquez Lasso’s family is expected be on hand at the event.

Revenue from parade sponsorships will be donated to the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation’s Get Behind the Vest Program, which provides protective vests to CPD officers at no charge.

Last year’s honorary grand marshal was CPD Officer Danny Golden. In 2022, Officer Ella French was honored posthumously.

Staging for community groups marching/riding in the parade will be along Oak Park Avenue, just north of Archer. Staging for the various heavy-equipment vehicles in the parade will be along Archer, just west of Oak Park.

Step-off is set for noon at Archer and Oak Park, with parade units heading east up Archer to Narragansett, where the parade will turn south and disband at the west parking lot of Kennedy High School.

There is no parade after-party, but event organizers urge everyone to instead patronize local restaurants and pubs that could use a surge in business.

It is anticipated that local schools, churches, Scout troops, youth athletic associations and others will have units in the parade. Units will have to register in advance with parade organizers. 

For details, send an inquiry to Those hoping to be in the parade must register by Feb. 23. 

The parade’s host is the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150, led by its president-business manager, James M. Sweeney.

Serving as a parade co-host again is the Clear-Ridge Men’s Social Athletic Club (SAC).
Kids are especially fond of the parade.

“This is a wonderful, family-focused event that has a lot of neighborhood charm,” said SAC member Al Cacciottolo. “Aside from being a lot of fun, it’s a real showcase for our community organizations to put their best foot forward and let people know who they are. It’s one of those events that help build a stronger and better neighborhood.

“On top of that, Garfield Ridge and Clearing are working neighborhoods, union neighborhoods,” he continued. “So we’re grateful to Jim Sweeney and Local 150 for their leadership with this awesome neighborhood event.”

The parade on Archer is set to occur the same day as the downtown St. Patrick’s Day Parade and a day before the annual South Side Irish St. Patrick’s Day Parade, in the Beverly and Morgan Park neighborhood on the Far Southwest Side.

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