Parade goers didn’t need the luck of the Irish to find holiday themed fare along the Forest Park parade route. 

“Obviously, there was a ton of corned beef sold and eaten on Madison Street on Saturday,” said Christine Westphal Barnard of the Forest Park Chamber of Commerce. “All businesses that I checked in with seemed to do well.”

The Lantern House, Starship and The Junction Diner churned out traditional corned beef sandwiches, while Exit Strategy changed things up a bit by offering corned beef tacos and Rueben eggrolls. In lieu of more traditional boiled corned beef offerings, Small Batch Barbecue offered smoked pastrami sandwiches and earned rave reviews from parade goers.

Urban Pioneer Group put a savory-sweet spin on the St. Patrick’s Day theme by offering corned beef sandwiches, Guinness beer and Mama Kat’s Lucky Charms cupcakes. Twisted Cookie made artisan shamrock shakes and shamrock smores to add a little more sweetness to parade day.

In addition to serving an impressive 7-tier rainbow hat cake for the parade pre-party, Brown Cow pulled out all the culinary stops to honor the Emerald Isle in Forest Park. They enhanced their menu by focusing on green products like Green River floats, mint chocolate chip ice cream sandwiches and mint chip shakes.

Forest Park’s 25th annual St. Patrick’s Day parade didn’t just pull in record crowds for a day of fantastic food and fun. 

“It was a model of efficiency,” said Mayor Rory Hoskins at a March 9 village council meeting, thanking the village departments for the work they put in.

Village Administrator Tim Gillian, who said he’d attended the parade for the past 25 years, was blown away by this year’s event.

“Without a doubt, Saturday was the best one I believe we’ve had, certainly in terms of crowds,” said Gillian. He thanked all the departments involved, giving special credit to public works, whose dedication before, during and after the event to help it run smoothly. 

“By Sunday at noon you would never have known there were thousands of people out there,” said Gillian.