According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the city's South Side Irish St. Patrick's Day Parade has been given a permit for this year by the Chicago Department of Transportation. It has been three years since the parade, known for mass alcohol use and often outbreaks of violence, took place. With the return of the parade on March 11, organizers are vowing a zero-tolerance alcohol policy and boosting police and security patrol.
With this announcement of the return of one of Chicago's most popular parades, here is what Chicago residents and past parade-goers are saying:
* "Chicago has a huge Irish population and this was definitely one of the main St. Patrick's Day events in the city. I looked forward to going every year and was disappointed when the city decided to end it. I was convinced it was done and over with, but it's great it'll be back. I'm going for sure and I know a ton of other people will be going." -- Samuel McConnelly, 25, Chicago.
* "My 80-year-old mother lives in Beverly and dreaded the parade every year. Hours after it ended people were still drunkenly walking the streets, going to the bars, and then wandering around the neighborhood. One year I remember a man with a green-painted face was so drunk that he passed out on my mother's porch. Needless to say, in the past the parade has been absolutely insane. For the sake of the neighborhood's residents, I hope they get a handle on the parade if they're starting it up again." -- Jessica Garzano, 35, Aurora.
* "There's no doubt the Irish Parade is known for being a rowdy beer-fest. But when they suddenly stopped the parade instead of increasing the number of police or taking other methods of stepping up security, a lot of people were mad. Even if they are saying they are going to have better crowd control, no beer, etc., I don't think it's going to make a difference. People have been waiting three years for this, so that excitement alone is going to make for an interesting return for the parade." -- Megan Dyer, 27, Naperville.
* "The first time I went to the South Side Irish Parade was in 1980. At the time, it was more family-oriented and revolved more around cultural pride. The parade evolved a lot over the decades and turned into an excuse for people to drink excessively and turn violent. To me it lost the aspect of being family-friendly and I stopped going in 2003. I won't be going this year, but if there is a turnaround for the parade and it focuses back on the roots of what it's supposed to be, I will consider going next year." -- Robert O'Toole, 47, Chicago.
* "I'm excited the Irish Parade is coming back to the South Side because it was always a fun event to look forward to. Sure it got a little crazy at times, but what do you expect? Honestly, I don't think a zero-tolerance alcohol policy is going to work. There is going to be too many people and not enough police. I'm sure if people can't bring beer, which I'm sure they will try to get around anyway, they will probably hit the bars first. I'll probably go to the bars, but afterwards." -- James Morgan, 37, Chicago.
* "I won't be missing this year's parade. It's been way too long and for Chicago's Irish it's a major event. Better police patrol will be a good thing, no doubt, but the parade is still probably skating on thin ice this year. I do hope that people behave better though because it could mean the difference between the parade permanently coming back and just a trial run this year. It only takes a few crazy people to really ruin the fun and a lot of us want the Irish Parade to come back and stay." -- Shelly Moore, 29, Chicago.
Rachel Bogart provides an in-depth look at current environmental issues and local Chicago news stories. As a college student from the Chicago suburbs pursuing two science degrees, she applies her knowledge and passion to both topics to garner further public awareness.
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