We’re not expecting half a million people like they are in Dublin, but the Forest Park Chamber’s St. Patrick’s Day parade is certainly our most popular event and our attendance numbers are just as impressive for a town our size. Attendance reached an all-time high last year at an estimated crowd of 10,000 people.

We host the parade early in March – typically two weekends before St. Patrick’s Day weekend. The Chamber chose that path initially to ensure that we didn’t compete with local or city parades for entrants or attendance, and to also allow for a second day of celebration. Folks always come out on St. Patrick’s Day. By hosting it before the ‘official’ St. Pat’s weekend, we’re bringing people to Forest Park twice.

People often remark that the weather would be better if we moved the date back, but that’s not how Chicago-area weather rolls. For example, last year’s parade day temperature was 70 degrees. Granted, that’s really great weather for March, but the temperature on the following Saturday was 24 degrees. Over the last 26 years, it’s gone the other way of course, but Forest Park St. Pat’s Parade Day parade-goers are in it to win it so we always have a great turnout. 

As with any event we host, sponsors are key to making the parade happen. Their support allows us to create an entertaining line-up that includes entries like Medinah Shriner’s parade units who receive an honorarium for participating. Event sponsorship also supports the overall work of the Chamber.  

Thank you to this year’s main sponsors: 

 Title Sponsors: O’Sullivan’s Public House; Fiore Pizzeria & Bakery; Ironworkers Local 1. 

Advertising Sponsors: Burke Beverage; The Gillian Baker Team; Village of Forest Park; Mohr Oil Company; Christopher B. Burke Engineering, Ltd; Fatduck Tavern & Grill; Speaker of the Illinois House Emanuel Chris Welch; Republic Services, Riveredge Hospital, Currie Motors and Caffe DeLuca. 

Shamrock Sponsors: Forest Park Bakery; Little Teeth Big Smiles/Children’s Dentistry; Let’s Play Work; Shanahan’s; Scratch Kitchen; Park District of Forest Park; Jessica Voogd for Commissioner; Our Planet Automotive; Progress Center; and Toothbuds Pediatric Dentistry.   

I also want to thank every single member of the Forest Park Chamber of Commerce for their support. Together with the village and other key organizations, we all work together to keep Forest Park strong. 

Happy parade day and happy St. Patrick’s Day to one and all. 

Laurie Kokenes
Executive Director
Forest Park Chamber of Commerce