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Traditions abound at Plainfield Hometown Irish Parade

Residents and business owners painted the town green during Sunday’s annual Plainfield Hometown Irish Parade.

Despite the rain, those taking part in the March 13 festivities took to the streets with excitement for the parade, which ran in a square-shaped route south of Lockport Street toward Commercial Street, bound from east to west at James and Illinois streets. A roaring crowd, a plethora of stunts and lots of candy were some of the main takeaways for paradegoers.

Ken Barvian, a coordinator for the event, said he hopes the community enjoyed their time spent in downtown Plainfield.

“We’ve been doing this [parade] for a long time,” he said. “We started planning in September, getting the website up. It’s all volunteers. This is something the Village Preservation Association does to give back to the community.”

On average, the parade draws 6,000 to 8,000 area residents to downtown Plainfield, and last year’s festivities attracted a record 14,000 people. With rain projected in the forecast leading up to this year’s event, parade organizers were hoping the weather wouldn’t turn people away.

Their wish came true, as large crowds lined the streets Sunday afternoon to celebrate Irish heritage.

Jimmy Shemroske, of Plainfield, was one of the many people who attended the parade. He said he regularly comes out to see the annual parade, and was enjoying this year’s parade. Along with his wife, Lisa, the Shemroskes were decked out in St. Patrick’s Day gear. Jimmy said they really enjoy getting into the spirit of the holiday.

“We’re not even Irish,” Lisa joked.

Jimmy said the couple was Polish.

“Yes, we get into the tradition of it all and that means drinking of course,” he joked.

Drew Stephens, of Plainfield, was hanging out with his kids in the tent designated as the family area. He said he likes coming out to the parade and seeing how festive everyone gets.

He said he and his family are Irish and for them, that creates some added meaning for the festivities.

“St. Patrick’s Day is just a way to reconnect a little bit with the music,” he said. “Everybody wears green and everybody kind of comes together. Everybody’s a little bit Irish today.”

Stephens said celebrating with a parade is a great way to cap off the weekend, adding that it’s a fun time and it brings the community together.

Richard Morris, of Plainfield, also attended the parade with his wife and children. He said they come out to the parade every year.

“I like the fact that everyone comes out,” he said. “Usually, there’s a little bit better weather, but I think we’ll have a good showing.”

He said the family usually attends the parade in Chicago, as well as Plainfield’s. But with rain in the forecast, they decided to stay close to home.

“It’s nice to at least get the family together and walk around and enjoy the town,” he said. “The way they fixed up Plainfield over the last 5-10 years, it looks nice and it’s nice to come down and walk around.”

The Plainfield Hometown Irish Parade was sponsored by James Flanagan, Kate O’Connor Pint House & Eatery, and American Family Insurance, among others.

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