Old St. Pat's church announces new tradition to replace 'World's Largest Block Party' in 2020

CHICAGO (WLS) -- After 35 years, Old St. Patrick's Catholic Church will not be hosting its annual "World's Largest Block Party" this year.

Pastor Tom Hurley said in a letter to the parish "because of the many people here at Old St. Pat's who have committed so many years to the event, I wanted you to be the first to know that we will not be hosting the World's Largest Block Party this coming year."

The letter said the block party, also known as Chicago's ultimate summer party, previously helped the church secure funding.

RELATED: Old St. Pat's celebrates 35 years of the World's Largest Block Party
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The 35th Annual Old St. Pat's World's Largest Block Party is Chicago's ultimate summer party, featuring great music and entertainment for all ages, and fabulous food.

With so many other summer festivals, the church said it was time to change directions.

"Years ago we did not have Lollapalooza, Lake Shake, or Rolling Stones at Soldier Field," Hurley said. "Today, however, Old St. Pat's is a much different place than it was 35 years ago and the city, its demographic landscape, and the summer event environment is much different and likewise much more difficult for us to navigate."

Since 1984, thousands have both enjoyed the block party and gotten behind its success, he added.

But don't worry, on March 14, there is going to be a new party dubbed "Shamrock'n the Block."

This event will be in the same spot, just a different day, and a new updated tradition.

"We thought it would be a great opportunity to celebrate Old St. Pat's and all the work we do here," Hurley said.

While the church is dumping the old for something new, many who have come over the years said they will never forget the memories they made on South Desplaines Street.

The church said more than 150 couples fell in love at the block party and ended up getting married.

"It was July 18, 1997," said Robb Drancik, who met his wife Jenny at the annual party. "Once we got there, I walked up and as cheesy as I am I said, 'Hi, do you believe in love at first sight or should I walk by again?'"

That moment led to the Dranciks tying the knot just two years later.

"We have presided many weddings for people who met here,"Hurley said, "of course, the most romantic ones are the people who met in line for the porta potty, so that always makes good homily material."

Hurley will serve as the grand marshal of this year's St. Patrick's Day parade.
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