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The South Side Irish St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee announces Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana (RMHC-CNI) will lead this year’s parade as the Grand Marshal. Smith Village, celebrating its 100th year of senior living in the Beverly community was named the 2024 Parade Honoree. The Grand Marshal will lead the parade set to step off at noon on Sunday, March 17 from 103rd and Western in Chicago’s Beverly/Morgan Park neighborhood.

“We are delighted to announce this year’s Grand Marshal, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana, who provide families with amazing respite and the resources they need as their children undergo complex medical care at area pediatric hospitals. We are inspired to have them lead our annual march down Western Avenue sharing the needs of so many families they serve” shares Marianne Rowan Leslie, chair of the South Side Irish St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee. Juxtapose this Grand Marshal choice with the Honoree and the joy that seniors have found for a century living at Smith Village, a unique senior living community right here in the heart of Beverly and along the Parade route. “Both our Grand Marshal and Honoree are incredible organizations reflective of the core values of the Parade Committee,” adds Leslie. 

Holly Buckendahl, Chief Executive Officer of Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana, adds, “We are honored to be recognized as the 2024 South Side Irish St. Patrick’s Day Parade Grand Marshal. Much like Ronald McDonald House, the parade is so deeply rooted in family and community, and we couldn’t imagine a better collaboration. Through our Ronald McDonald House in Oak Lawn, along with nine additional program locations throughout the Chicagoland area, we help families in our community get better together. We are so excited to be a part of this memorable community event.”

The first Ronald McDonald House in Chicago and the second in the world opened in 1977 and over the past 45 years, RMHC-CNI has helped more than 150,000 families stay close to their hospitalized children through its six Ronald McDonald Houses® and four Ronald McDonald Family Rooms® across the Chicagoland area. Each program location provides support to families while their children are being treated at nearby hospitals through comfortable, private rooms so families can get a good night’s rest, fresh meals to return to after long days at the hospital, and so much more. In addition, the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile® program provides medical services to children in underserved neighborhoods, offering health care treatment, vaccinations, and distributing backpacks with food and supplies.

In 2023, RMHC-CNI served over 11,500 children and 8,700 families, enabling families to save over $9 million in food, lodging and travel expenses during their child’s critical medical treatment.

For a limited time, RMHC-CNI is offering exclusive “Get Shamrock’d” themed yard sign kits for $125. When you purchase a kit, you’re not only showing your support for RMHC-CNI and the South Side Irish Parade, you’re helping children and families get better together during their greatest time of need. For more information, visit ronaldhousechicago.org. 

Smith Village, celebrating 100 years on the Southwest side of Chicago has been selected as the Parade Honoree.

“Over the past century of caring for older adults, Smith Village is grateful to the support of Chicago business and civic leaders who have helped the community thrive,” says Kevin McGee, president and CEO of Smith Senior Living.  “Situated near the end of the parade route, we look forward to this wonderful celebration of culture every year, and we are grateful to be recognized as an honoree.”

During 2024 Smith Village, a not-for-profit community sponsored by Smith Senior Living, is celebrating a century of caring for older adults. The community originally opened in 1924 as Oakhaven Old People’s Home. In 1929, the estate of Emilie Smith gave $1.75 million to the community which was renamed Washington and Jane Smith Home to honor her parents. 

From 1930 to 1960, the community has expanded four times to accommodate the growing need for senior care and housing. A fifth time in 1991, occurred with the addition of a three-story skilled nursing care wing along Oakley Avenue. In 2004, the Smith Senior Living board of directors launched a $65 million redevelopment plan to create the first continuing care retirement community in the area offering independent living, assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing care and rehab. The community was renamed Smith Village to mark the transformation. Smith Village builds on a century of care for older adults, evolving to enhance daily life and offer residents the care they need. For more information, visit SmithVillage.org. 

Pre-Parade Fundraising Party

The South Side Irish Parade will kick off the festivities with a pre-parade fundraiser on Saturday, March 2, 2024. The party will be held from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. at 115 Bourbon Street, 3359 West 115th Street, Merrionette Park, IL, 60803. Proceeds from the evening will help support the expense of operating the parade.

Tickets are $50 at the door and admission includes a dinner buffet, draft beer and wine. The event will feature raffle prizes, a silent auction, the selection of the South Side Irish Parade Queen, and much more. The Avondale Ramblers and Kieran Bryne will provide live music inside the 115 Bourbon Street Performance Hall. The fundraiser will also feature a quieter approach with Irish traditional music sessions featuring Pat Finnegan and Friends inside the Saloon.

South Side Irish Parade merchandise will be available for purchase at South Side Irish Imports, 3446 W. 111th St. Chicago, IL 60655, through St. Patrick’s Day.

About The South Side Irish Parade:

The parade is operated by the South Side Irish St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Heritage Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, where more than 100 volunteers work year-round to ensure this family-friendly celebration continues for future generations.

The parade is generously supported by major sponsors including by Tullamore D.E.W. the official Irish Whiskey of the Parade,  Lakeshore Beverage, Ozinga, The Beverly Review, IUOE Local 399, Old National Bank, Chicago White Sox, Med Express Spa,Local 150, Midwest Express Clinic,  Ullico Inc., Flood Brothers, Home Run Inn Beverly, UPAT District 14, Chicago City Socceer Club ComEd, County Fair Foods, Hilton Chicago/Oak Lawn, OSF Little Company of Mary Medical Center, UICE Local 2, Mercedes-Benz of Orland Park, Marquette Bank, Megent Financial, Nascar Chicago Street Race, McCready Law, Dunkin’, Guinness, BudLight, Green River, Roofers and Waterproofers Local 11, JDog Junk Haulers and South Side Irish Imports and more.

Visit southsideirishparade.org for more information on the pre-parade fundraiser and the South Side Irish Parade. 

About Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana
Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana exists so families can get better together. Each night, we keep 181 families close to the care and resources they need through six area Ronald McDonald Houses® and four Ronald McDonald Family Rooms®. Enabling families to stay close to their hospitalized child supports the health and well-being of the child and saves families more than $9 million in hotel and food costs each year. We are located inside or near Advocate Children's Hospital in Oak Lawn and Park Ridge, Northwestern Medicine Prentice Women’s Hospital, Loyola University Medical Center, UChicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, Edward Hospital in Naperville and Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital. The Charity also operates the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile® program, providing medical care to children in underserved areas. RMHC-CNI is an independent not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization and is an approved BBB Accredited Business and recipient of Guidestar’s Platinum Seal of Transparency, and Charity Navigator’s 4-star rating.For more information, visit ronaldhousechicago.org.

About Smith Village
Smith Village, the only a life plan community on Chicago’s southwest side, originally opened in 1924 and has operated continuously since then serving older adults on the same city block it has always occupied in the Beverly/Morgan Park neighborhood.

Settings at the not-for-profit community range from independent living apartments to assisted living and memory care residences, plus short-term stay rehab suites and skilled nursing care rooms. The campus features a broad array of common areas including venues for dining, entertainment, lifelong learning and wellness programs.  For more information about Smith Village, call 773-474-7300 or visit SmithVillage.org.