ST. CHARLES – The streets of downtown St. Charles were flooded with green Saturday afternoon as hundreds of people gathered to watch the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade and celebrate Irish heritage.
About 75 entrants passed crowds along Main Street from Sixth Street to Fourth Avenue in the hourlong parade. Many who were gathered prepared the sit in 30-degree temperatures by bringing along blankets, and some brought along umbrellas or rain coats, just in case.
Aside from the occasional flurry of snow, the precipitation held off. Nick and Stephanie Stravropoulos of St. Charles and their two daughters, Tessa, 5, and Lily, 9, braved the cold to carry on the 10-year family tradition of watching the St. Patrick's Parade.
"We look forward to it every year," said Stephanie Stravropoulos, adding that the St. Charles North marching band was her favorite parade entry.
Nick Stravropoulos said their relatives from out of town usually join them for the parade, but didn't make it this year. He said St. Patrick's Day is for celebrating the "little Irish" that runs in their family.
Many in attendance wore green or waved Irish flags. Some had a more boisterous wardrobe, wearing oversized green sunglasses, tall green hats, fake beards and mustaches, and green wigs and feather boas.
Parade entries included youth organizations such as the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, along with businesses, churches, political candidates, sports teams, high school bands and pets.
Several bagpipe bands marched in the parade, drawing cheers and applause from crowds.
Beverly resident Bernadette Glavin-O'Pater said the bagpipers were her favorite part. Dan Glavin-O'Pater and their son, Danny, 6, watched the parade, too, and all three wore green to celebrate their Irish heritage.
Bernadette Glavin-O'Pater wore a pair of oversized sunglasses shaped like shamrocks, along with a green feather boa, and Danny wore several green beaded necklaces.
"We're Irish and it's fun," she said.
Bernadette Glavin-O'Pater said her family attends the parade each year in St. Charles, along with several other St. Patrick's Day parades in the Chicago area.
She summed up Saturday's parade in one word – "excellent."