BEVERLY — It's not uncommon to pre-party ahead of the South Side Irish St. Patrick's Day Parade.
In fact, organizers of the annual parade through Beverly and Morgan Park have turned the pre-party into a fundraiser. The 2015 South Side Irish Parade Pre-Parade Fundraiser will be held from 6-11 p.m. on Feb. 21 at 115 Bourbon Street in suburban Merrionette Park.
The family-friendly event at 3359 W. 115th St. raises money for increased security at the parade along with additional portable toilets and other improvements deemed imperative upon the return of the event in March 2012 after a two-year hiatus.
“Each year the pre-parade fundraiser helps us build excitement for the parade while also raising much needed funds to produce the parade,” said Pat Coakley, co-chair of the South Side Irish Parade Committee.
The 2015 South Side Irish St. Patrick's Day Parade will step off at noon on Sun., March 15. The parade begins in Beverly at 103rd Street and marches south on Western Avenue to 115th Street in Morgan Park.
The parade committee is tasked with raising $200,000 annually to pay for added security and other amenities. Supplemental security officers are tasked with enforcing the event's zero-tolerance alcohol policy.
Last year, more than 125,000 spectators took in the parade, despite freezing temperatures. Roughly 100 groups marched in the parade, representing area schools, local teams and neighborhood clubs.
To off-set the cost of the event that dates back to March 17, 1979, the pre-party will feature raffles and silent auction items. Tickets to the event cost $30 and can be purchased online or at the door. Parade merchandise and street pole banners will also be available.
Tickets include draft beer, a dinner buffet and live music from Irish rockers Sean and Charlie and the Larkin Brothers.
The fundraiser will also serve as the selection site for the South Side Irish Parade Queen, who will be featured prominently in South Side Irish Parade and ride in the downtown Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 14.
Interested young women of Irish descent between the ages of 18-27 are encouraged to apply by visiting the Chicago Rose of Tralee website.
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