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CHICAGO — The sound of tradition returned to South Western Avenue Sunday afternoon.

The Gonchers joined hundreds of families lined up from 103rd Street to 115th Street to welcome back the South Side Irish Parade after a two-year hiatus.

“This has been bigger for us than Christmas, so we’re just so excited that everybody can be out again. It’s awesome,” mom Megan Goncher said.

Seven-year-old Maya told WGN News she couldn’t contain her excitement.

“It’s just really fun to see all the people and all the trucks and stuff go by,” Maya said.

Some kids watched from afar. Laura Demes narrated the parade over Facetime for her grandchildren in Colorado.

Three generations of the Russo family say from experience being Irish isn’t a requirement to celebrate.

“My grandma, my Italian grandmother, said it was her favorite party,” grandfather Dominic Russo said. “We live about a block from here, so you can’t avoid the parade, and we’ve had a family party here for probably 25 years.”

The parade brings together family and community while also honoring the fallen.

The Chicago Police Department honored slain officer Ella French and the Chicago Fire Department recognized firefighter Mashawn Plummer. Both were killed in the line of duty last year.

“When the firefighters came by, I gave them a salute,” said retired fire crew member and veteran Chuck Horton.

Though the parade is steeped in tradition, locals say it’s also a chance to make new memories. For the first time, Bozo brought with him part of the WGN News family – Ray Cortopassi, Dina Bair, Patrick Elwood, Lauren Jiggetts, Dean Richards, Bronagh Tumulty and Daytime Chicago’s Tonya Francisco.

And for Oak Forest’s Cassie Smith, the week marks the start of an exciting new chapter. She’s due in just a matter of days.

“We got little Ivy on the way,” she told WGN News.

The mom-to-be says she is hoping for a St. Patrick’s Day baby.

“Our fingers are crossed for March 17.”