Takeaways from taking the kids to the Elmhurst St. Patrick's Day Parade

This weekend we didn’t have to venture very far from home for cheap, old-fashioned family fun: the 19th annual Elmhurst St. Patrick’s Day Parade. I believe the last parade we went to was the annual balloon parade in our old town before MBA Toddler was born. Today’s parade was free and quite possibly even better, it happened to be within walking distance. So, what did we learn today?

3 rules of parade success: weather, weather and weather! What a difference a harsh winter makes. Never has 40 degrees in the sun felt more glorious. This was the same temperature as the Sunday before Thanksgiving balloon parade but it was cloudy and it felt so cold we ended up leaving early. Not today.

Wear boots. This is sort of related to my point on weather above. Since today was basically the first day above freezing in a while, coupled with the fact we were in a part of town prone to flooding and you get puddles, lots of them. 6-year olds love to jump in puddles; the muddier the better. Yuck.

Halloween in March. On our way to the parade route one of the sponsors gave MBA Son a plastic bag. At the last parade some of the performers threw out candy and he got maybe a handful of pieces. Here, everyone handed out something and not just little pieces of Tootsie Rolls. This on top of all the candy he just got for Valentine’s Day should make for an interesting trip to the dentist.


Don’t expect a wide range of Irish music. I would have been disappointed if we didn’t hear “Scotland the Brave” played by some bagpipe bands, and we did. However, aside from Dropkick Murphys “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” which is marginally Irish, that was it. I heard “Uptown Funk” no fewer than 5 times. I drew the line when one of the Irish dance schools used it for their routine.

Speaking of music… Why does “Scotland the Brave” bring tears to my eyes every time? Perhaps it is partly because a good bagpiper friend of MBA Dad’s played it for us at our wedding. Which reminds me…

There are not enough tissues. Being in cooler weather for several hours meant runny noses for everyone. I grabbed half a box of tissues before heading out but it was not enough and ran out halfway through the parade. I had to resort to the Wet Wipes in my bag.

Politicians, politicians and more politicians. Aside from all the candy, you would have thought it was a Halloween parade by the presence of all the politicians hoping for that last push before Election Day, except it’s the first week in March. The parade run time would have been 30 minutes without the politicians.

Parades build community spirit. These outdoor events are great for building a sense of community. We walked by several well-attended lawn parties and everyone along the crowded parade route, young and old, had lots of smiles. Thank you City of Elmhurst.

Afternoon naps for everyone. We clearly have to re-accustom ourselves to spending time outside in fresh air.  All of us were thoroughly exhausted. Just in time to turn the clocks ahead tonight.

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