South Side Irish Parade organizers use social media to ward off - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

South Side Irish Parade organizers use social media to ward off problems

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(Photo by FOX 32's Craig Wall) (Photo by FOX 32's Craig Wall)
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Organizers hope the forecast for this year's South Side Irish Parade will be similar to last year, with lots of families and fun, but no trouble.

Banners are flying high along the Western Avenue parade route. If anyone is planning to bus a large group of drunken partiers to the area, the parade committee is hoping to catch wind of it before Sunday.

"We have a few people on the committee that monitor social media, Facebook, Twitter to make sure…that people coming to the parade are coming for the right reasons," said Kevin Coakley, Co-Chair of the South Side Irish Parade.

In 2009, Chicago Police responded to several large scale fights after the parade, attributed to excessive drinking and associated with large busloads of partiers who descended on the parade route.

That led to big changes, and a new marketing campaign, which promoted a family friendly atmosphere at the parade and less on the excessive reverie.

Coakley said that there have been no indications of any potential problems this year. However, if the social media scanners do pick up any tweets or posts of concern, they'll issue a friendly reminder.

"The only thing we can do is tell them when they come into the area, if it's a bus, they're not going to be allowed near the parade route, they're gonna' be pushed over to Evergreen Plaza. You need a permit to get near the parade route in a bus," Coakley added.

Regular attendees of the parade enjoy the atmosphere more now.

"It's all great. It's all families, the people are in the bars where they should be, the kids are out on the streets with their families where they should be," said parade attendee Chris Chellberg.

This year's parade starts Sunday at Noon at 103rd and Western. The two hour event travels south along Western to 115th Street. About 150,000 people are expected to attend.

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