The St. Paddy’s Day Parade is coming up in just three days. For the bars on Madison St. March 8 will be sort of like the day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, is supposed to be for merchants.
So, let’s call it Green Saturday, because not only will some of the beer be green along with the Chicago River on March 17, but the owners of the watering holes along our main business street will probably be raking in a lot of greenbacks as people party into the wee hours of the night in their establishments.
Some of the tavern owners are team players and some are spectators. So far the Chamber of Commerce, which sponsors the parade which brings hundreds if not thousands of revelers to Madison St., has received checks to fund the parade from the following establishments: O’Sullivans, Fatduck, Shortstop Lounge, Doc Ryans, Angelo O’Leary’s, Healy’s Westside, Madison Park Kitchen, Shanahan’s, Francesca’s Fiore, Duffy’s and caffe de Luca. Burke Beverage is also supporting this year’s event.
They contribute to the parade, because they get it. They understand that supporting an event which brings crowds to the street and foot traffic past their front doors is really in their own self-interest as well as a benefit to the whole community. It’s a win/win deal. The community gets a really fun event and some bragging rights with our neighboring towns, and the taverns get some income to help balance their books.
To make an analogy, the bar owners are the ones on the field making the game possible. Then there are the spectators. As usual, the village was very helpful, in this instance by providing me with a list of the liquor licenses held by businesses on Madison St. To my count, there are twenty. If you go back and count the pubs which have contributed to the parade, you come up with eleven.
On top of that several businesses with no liquor licenses are coming through. McDonalds is contributing $1,500, and donations have been received by the Chamber from Mohr Oil Co., Chris B. Burke Engineering, Forest Agency Insurance, Baird and Warner, Woodlawn Memorial Park and Visit Oak Park.
I guess that means that the Guinness glass is half full, that is if you look at the bright side or half empty if you are looking for spectators.
It’s always been interesting to me that fans driving home from the United Center will say “we won” if the five or so Bulls playing on the court pulled out a victory. I guess it’s understandable, since as fans they were cheering for the home team. It’s a little different with the parade. The spectators will probably have a good day at the cash register without paying up front for part of the cost of promoting the event. Some of the spectators even have Irish names!
Pastors often say that 20 percent of the people in their churches do 80 percent of the work. If you look at it that way, the tavern owners are doing a lot better than 20 percent.
Now I have to admit that the last thing I’ve been wanting to do in this weather is to stop in at local pub for a cold one, but if you do decide to stop in at a tavern for a Guinness or two on Saturday, you might check out the list of contributors before deciding which establishment to patronize. And if you do stop in at one of the pubs on the list, thank the owner for being a team player, for the sake not only of their bottom line but for the good of the whole village.