WOOGMS Parade returns to Lake View after pandemic pause

Beyond the drum team at the start, don’t expect much parade pageantry in Lake View at the annual WOOGMS parade.

This is an old school event, with kids on bikes and people with flags — instead of floats or marching bands. 

That's because the WOOGMS parade is simply about showing patriotism on Memorial Day.

"I think it's wonderful to get the community together and let kids march and get a sense of patriotism," said Rebecca Thompson, as she marched with her family.

"It's great to see everybody out. It's what makes Chicago great," added Evan Thompson.

Outsiders might ask what is a WOOGMS? 

It stands for Wellington-Oakdale Old Glory Marching Society, which was formed in 1963 by a Lake View family. 

Ned Lufrano was there.

"Al Weisman started this parade. Just his son Tony. They marched around the block, and they had just a little flag and that's how it started over 60 years ago," said Lufrano.


Organizers dedicated this year's parade to Ann Weisman, who died earlier this year. 

Plus, they're carrying on the Weisman desire for fun, patriotism and community involvement. 

The WOOGMS parade is not one where you stand on the sidewalk and watch.

"Their slogan is, ‘Everyone marches, nobody watches,’ and it brings everyone out. It's just so wonderful thing for the Lake View community," said Lufrano.

"I think it's cool to be a part of a tradition that's been part of the city for so long and celebrating our country and all those who served and feeling patriotic today," said Rachel Allen.

Her 10-month-old daughter experienced her first WOOGMS parade, decked out in red, white and blue, while being pushed in a stroller.

As that baby and so many young people experience the WOOGMS magic, it ensures the patriotism and passion for this parade lives on with the next generation.