ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — The Rock River may not be green and the parade isn’t marching through downtown Rockford streets, but that hasn’t stopped some residents from celebrating St. Patrick’s Day.
A few people say that Irish or not, the celebrations were something to look forward to.
“Saint Patricks Day for me just basically means family and getting together with friends and family during that day,” said Peg McMahon
Saint Patrick’s Day is Wednesday, but that’s not stopping people from celebrating early. Peg McMahon grew up in Rockford. Now living in Wisconsin, she’s celebrating this year by returning to the Forest City to meet an old friend.
“Basically having drinks, reminiscing about the year, upcoming. It’s almost like a New Year’s for Irish, for me anyway,” she said.
The pandemic has changed or even canceled many people’s Saint Patrick’s Day plans. McMahon believes with a lot of uncertainty still surrounding the virus, celebrating the holiday is exactly what people need.
“We need a break. I mean it’s just been negative, negative, negative and I think that at least one positive probably will outweigh a couple of the negatives. So instead of focusing on the vaccines or Covid, just focus on positives. You know and Saint Patrick’s day I think is that its positivity,” McMahon said.
“I think it’s important to celebrate your heritage. I think that there are several safe ways that you can celebrate this year,” added Kathy Davidson.
Before moving a year ago, Kathy Davidson was a Rockford resident for 44 years. She isn’t big on corned beef or green beer, but she still plans to be festive.
“I grew up without my father and I grew up not knowing what I was, what I was made up of and I did get to meet him and learn that at the end of his life and I appreciated that. So it’s just important to me that my kids know their family and they know what they’re made up of,” Davidson explained.
This year, Rockford’s Irish Marching Society paraded through the streets in cars instead of marching on foot. Dozens of cars were decorated with their Irish flare.
Organizers say they weren’t going to cancel like last year.
“We’re having the Saint Patricks Driving parade, normally we’re the marching society because that’s what we do we march, but we cannot do that this time because of the gathering restrictions so we’re having a driving parade and we’re going to show the city that we haven’t gone anywhere,” said Irish Marching Society President Danny McDade.
The group plans for an even bigger half-way start to St. Patrick’s Day celebration on Labor Day.