Parade ends too soon

By Editorial Board

A 30-year tradition has come to a screeching halt, as members of the South Side Irish Parade Committee recently decided to pull the plug on hosting future celebrations.

While the reasons for cancelling the parade are understandable—excessive underage drinking, assault of law enforcement and lack of resources to handle the crowd of about 300,000—it’s unfortunate that a lasting tradition has to end abruptly due to a few issues that could have been easily resolved.

If members of the parade’s planning and organizing committee are concerned about public intoxication (especially on a holiday like St. Patrick’s Day), more drastic actions need to be taken. This means police shouldn’t be turning a blind eye to public drinking. By cracking down on public alcohol consumption by creating a “wristband” system or bag check on the day of the parade, the event could be considerably more controlled.

While this might negatively impact bars in the surrounding area that generate a lot of income that day, it’s important to keep one thing in mind: The privilege of selling liquor comes with the responsibility of keeping the community it serves a safe place.

An obscene amount of people crowded the streets this St. Patrick’s Day, leaving organizers feeling as if they had no control over the event. A simple solution to this would be to charge a small entrance fee to the parade. Though this might be annoyance for some, money collected upon admission could go toward parade management fees. The number of people attending the event enormously outweighs the number of law enforcement personnel, representing a large drain in citywide resources.

If members of the committee are using the excuse that there is too much disruption during the parade, isn’t that something the Chicago Police Department should be taking care of? You would have to be living under a rock if you didn’t know that this holiday, year after year, is a giant fest of intoxication—and the Beverly neighborhood isn’t the only one. If cops had taken action in previous years (perhaps when they first began to notice the parade was getting out of hand), there would have been a greater chance that an event like this could still be around.

Chicago is a city known for its eclectic annual festivals, and the South Side parade is one of the most celebrated.

While it’s unfortunate 54 people managed to ruin the tradition for those who attended, what’s even more of a shame is that after 30 years, police still can’t get things under control.