Irish pride takes over Chicago

Celebrations of Irish tradition take over Chicago
CHICAGO Lucky contest winner Joshua Fletcher of Chicago got the honor of dumping the first packet of green coloring into the water.

The color green symbolizes the greenery of Ireland, also known as the Emerald Isle.

Thousands of other people packed the streets for the St. Patrick's Day Parade to celebrate their Irish Heritage.

"This is my first time out. I'm loving it," parade attendee Glennie Johnson told ABC7 Chicago.

Chicago became all Irish, if only for a day, as the 53rd annual St. Patrick's Day parade headed up Columbus Drive Saturday morning with a mix of Irish tradition and present times.

"The Plumbers Union, we've got a balloon, a marching unit, a float, all that stuff," said parade Coordinator Jim Sullivan

ABC7 Chicago's Joel Daly was the parade's guest of honor. He joined several elected officials who led the parade procession through Grant Park.

While the day was primarily reserved for celebrating the Irish, there was still room for presidential politics, especially in reference to Barack's Obama's ongoing feud with Hillary Clinton and continued questions about remarks made by the Illinois senator's former pastor, Jeremiah Wright.

"How many of us would like to be held accountable for everything our minister said, our priest said, our rabbi said?" Senator Dick Durbin said.

"I'm a supporter of Senator Obama. I don't think they're doing it, but I think there are a lot of distractions, but the issue will be the economy," Chicago's Mayor Richard Daley said.

Thousands braved a chilly Saturday to enjoy the marching bands, performers and floats, including ABC7's, and almost everyone had a favorite part of the parade.

"I love being with the people and having fun," said Maureen O'Malley.

Celebrations were expected to continue all day Saturday. After all, for the St. Patrick's Day in Chicago, anyone can be Irish.

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