ST. CHARLES – Putting on the St. Patrick's Parade is a team effort.
"It takes about 50 volunteers to put on our parade," said Jenna Sawicki, executive director of the St. Charles Business Alliance, which organizes the parade. "That includes our volunteer committee that works on the event through the year. We are so lucky to have a such a great group that is passionate about putting on a wonderful event for the whole community and for visitors."
This year's parade will step off at 2 p.m. March 14 at Main and Sixth streets in downtown St. Charles. The Alliance is accepting volunteer applications up to the date of the parade. Parade pacers, marshals and banner carriers are needed, and volunteer applications at stcstpatricksparade.com.
Pre-parade activities include a free Irish dance show and free showing of the 2001 movie "The Luck of the Irish" at 10 a.m. at the Arcada Theatre, 105 E. Main St. in downtown St. Charles. In addition, cookies and crafts will be offered from noon to 4 p.m. as part of an open house at the St. Charles History Museum, 215 E. Main St.
The parade will be held against the backdrop of COVID-19, otherwise known as coronavirus. The Kane County Health Department continues to monitor the situation.
Even though the number of cases across the country continues to grow, there have been no cases reported in Kane County.
"We are directing people to look at the information that is being put out by the Kane County Health Department," Sawicki said.
The parade has become an annual tradition in the city. Rosie Martinez approached the city about organizing a St. Patrick’s Parade in 1999, a year after Maurice McNally invited her to leave Dublin to open McNally’s Traditional Irish Pub in St. Charles.
Sue and Bob McDowell, longtime owners of McDowell Remodeling, have been named the grand marshals of the St. Patrick's Parade.
The couple have owned McDowell Remodeling for more than 48 years and recently announced their retirement. The St. Charles Business Alliance is honoring the McDowells for their longtime service and dedication to the St. Charles community.
The parade, in partnership with McNally’s Traditional Irish Pub, is presented by Gerald Auto Group. Gold level sponsors include McNally’s Heating and Cooling, Premier Living Properties, Onesti Entertainment and Best of the Fox. Bronze sponsors include Corcoran Commercial Real Estate, Lakeshore Recycling Systems, West Valley Graphics and Valley Ambulatory Surgery Center.