CHICAGO — The sun was shining for the South Side Irish Parade Sunday, and with the primary election just two weeks away, this year’s parade had a distinctly political tone.
After all, Saint Patrick's Day festivities in Chicago attract big crowds, and if you’re running for office, you dare not miss this chance to march and to meet the voters.
"It’s a whole sea of green, it’s everywhere, you can’t miss it," attendee Dan Powers said.
The parade stepped off on Western Ave. Sunday, filled with the sights and sounds of the Emerald Isle, and bestowing a bit of luck on spectators as 150,000 reportedly lined the streets for about 15 blocks. Parade organizers say there were no arrests and no emergency incidents.
Among the floats there were political hopefuls working the crowds. There was the mayor, commissioner Daley, congressional candidates Dan Lipinski and Marie Newman, and of course several of the top candidates for governor, like democratic frontrunner J.B. Pritzker.
"[I'm] just reminding them that i’m going to put Springfield back on the side of working families; it’s been too long since they were in charge," Pritzker said.
Along with Prtizker was one of his primary rivals, who also happens to hail from America’s most famous Irish family.
"Everybody’s celebrating what it’s like to be Irish in america. Celebrating that culture that welcomes immigrants and treats everybody with love and that’s what we want to celebrate today," Kennedy said.
Republican candidate for governor Jeanne Ives also marched with a message.
"It’s time to be honest with people. That’s it. Honesty, we’re going to be honest," Ives said.
From politicians to priests, from Santa to Saint Patrick, in the end the political figure that got the biggest cheer was one who represents us all: Uncle Sam.