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Stricter South Side Irish Parade Marks 2nd Year

Bagpipers march in the 2009 South Side Irish Parade. Organizers shut down the parade after that year due to drunken violence among the crowd. Organizers plan a one-year trial of a new parade with a zero-tolerance policy on alcohol in 2012. (Credit: CBS)

Bagpipers march in the 2009 South Side Irish Parade. Organizers shut down the parade after that year due to drunken violence among the crowd. Organizers plan a one-year trial of a new parade with a zero-tolerance policy on alcohol in 2012. (Credit: CBS)

Mai Martinez Mai Martinez
Mai Martinez co-anchors CBS 2 Chicago’s weekend evening newscasts and...
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CHICAGO (CBS) — Irish eyes will no doubt be smiling Sunday as the South Side Irish Parade steps off.

After a two-year hiatus, the parade returned last year with a zero tolerance policy for drunks.

As CBS 2’s Mai Martinez reports, organizers say expect the same crackdown this year.

Family-friendly fun: That’s what’s on tap for this Sunday’s South Side Irish parade.

“This is about the neighborhood. It’s about families coming together and celebrating their heritage, their community, their faith,” co-chairman Kevin Coakley says.

But for years, the parade was better known for its rowdy, drunken revelers. That led organizers to pull the plug for three years.

The new restrictions include a continuing zero-tolerance policy for drinking in public. This year, violators will face even tougher fines. Adults drinking in public within 800 feet of the parade will face fines ranging from $500 to $1,000 or up to six months in jail.

Those caught urinating in public will face similar fines and possible jail time.

Many parade-goers say they like the crack-down.

“It’s for the better for families and for the neighborhoods of course,” John Lachtara says.

Others long for the parades of the past.

What does Heather Herndon miss?

“Getting rowdy,” she says. “That’s all I can say — having fun.”

Parade organizers say both Chicago police and private security officers will be looking for any trouble makers on Sunday.

The parade is set to step off at noon from 103rd and Western. Click here for more information.