Lightfoot acknowledges getting earful during Irish parade: 'there were some spirited comments'

Mayor Lori Lightfoot acknowledged getting an earful from some spectators at Sunday’s South Side Irish Parade, but said none of it was outside the bounds of Chicago-style give and take.

Gov. JB Pritzker heard some boo-birds at the event, too, as Chicago’s spring parade season resumed for the first time in two years.

Four separate St. Patrick’s Day parades also gave hundreds of thousands a chance to finally see powerful political leaders in person. There were parades downtown in Grant Park and along Archer Avenue in the Garfield Ridge neighborhood on Saturday.

On Sunday, marchers paraded through Beverly-Morgan Park on Western Avenue and on Northwest Highway in the Norwood Park community.

The South Side Irish Parade drew the largest crowd by far. Mayor Lightfoot took issue with some accounts that posted on social media of how the crowd reacted to her.

"The South Side Irish Parade – people enjoy themselves, and start enjoying themselves sometimes very early. So there were some spirited comments. But I certainly didn't experience any of the things that you said. And my security team didn't whisk me away," Lightfoot said.

Among inaccurate claims cited by Lightfoot were that both she and Gov. Pritzker had ducked out midway through the parade. At one point, the mayor was seen traversing Western Avenue in a golf cart followed by her security detail's vehicle.

"My security team didn't whisk me away," she said. "I went to a different part of the parade, so I could march with another unit."

Lightfoot said she first marched with members of the carpenters union, and then the roofers union.


Dozens of other politicians were also on hand, including Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin, now campaigning in the Republican primary for governor. Irvin jogged from one side of Western Avenue to the other to shake hands and greet spectators.

Another would-be Republican governor, State sen. Darren Bailey of Xenia, marched with dozens of supporters.
The incumbent Democratic governor they hope to unseat, JB Pritzker, got a combination of cheers and boos from the crowd. Pritzker marched with a group of supporters, whose chants of, "JB, JB, JB," counteracted the boo-birds.

A Pritzker campaign spokeswoman released the following statement: "The governor was thrilled to once again join the south side Irish parade after a two year hiatus. He enjoyed walking with the lieutenant governor, the carpenters, and supporters and was pleased to be able to participate in such a time honored tradition."

City Hall is now granting permits to more than two-dozen big, traditional Chicago parades that have not been allowed to March since 2019.

On Sunday, May 1st, the Mexican Cinco de Mayo Parade is scheduled for Cermak Road. On Saturday, May 7th, Grant Park will be the venue for the Polish Constitution Parade.