ELMHURST – To say IC Catholic Prep is excited to serve as grand marshal of the 23rd annual Elmhurst St. Patrick’s Day Parade is an understatement.
“Ecstatic” is how IC Catholic Prep President Tom Schergen described his emotions when the school learned it was selected to lead the March 9 parade.
“I think it’s a great honor for our school, and it’s a very good thing for our school in terms of recognizing our students, our teachers and our community that we are,” Schergen said.
The parade steps off at noon and proceeds north on Spring Road from Wilson Street to the railroad tracks one block south of St. Charles Road.
IC Catholic Prep plans to make the most out of its position at the head of the parade, which features more than 100 entries.
The school’s marching band will play from atop a float and convertibles will be used to showcase state trophies. The captains of the football teams that won state championships will accompany the trophies.
“We’re rolling out everything we can,” Schergen said.
David Terry, the school’s marketing and communications director, said the school will celebrate its three consecutive state football championships by flying footballs along Spring Road.
Additionally, members of the IC Catholic Prep contingent will toss mini footballs to the crowd along Spring Road. Students also will pass out goodies, such as candy, to children who attend the parade.
The school also has invited alumni and extended families to join in the festivities.
Schergen said the school also will highlight its academic successes, including its math and scholastic bowl teams. Trophies and medals earned by those teams will be on display at the parade.
“We expect to be a pretty sizable grand marshal at the front of the parade,” Terry said. “This is my first parade, so I can’t really speak to previous grand marshals and how big those contingencies looked, but I’m hopeful we’ll be somewhat resemblant of the Rose Parade, without all the flowers.”
Schergen said the school is taking a large-scale approach since leading the parade is an honor typically reserved for significant individuals or organizations in the Elmhurst community.
Elmhurst American Legion Post 187 led last year’s parade, and Mayor Steve Morley was the 2017 grand marshal. Elmhurst College, the Elmhurst Community Unit School District 205 School Board and Elmhurst Memorial Hospital also have been chosen to lead the parade.
“I think this parade has grown over the years in general into the great event it is now and it is today,” Schergen said. “To be able to be leading that is truly something we look forward to.”
Schergen has marched in the parade for the past seven years as a representative of IC Catholic Prep and has thoroughly enjoyed reuniting with former students and their parents.
“It’s a great community event just to be able to, in an informal setting, see your history and be part of that,” he said.
Word of IC Catholic’s Prep’s enthusiasm has made its way to parade leaders.
“They are the most excited grand marshal we’ve ever, ever had,” said Jim O’Connor, parade chairman and an IC Catholic Prep alumnus. “I’m being told they’re bringing a small army to the parade.”
Other parade participants this year include Irish dance companies, the Shannon Rovers Irish Pipe Band, local team mascots, Medinah Shrine clowns, local businesses, Elmhurst officials, candidates for local offices and the Elmhurst Armpit Orchestra, which boasts the world’s largest drum and again will surprise a woman in the crowd and name her queen for the year. Seven previous Elmhurst Armpit Orchestra queens have chosen to march in the parade as well.
“It is truly, truly the happiest day in town,” O’Connor said. “And I’m glad I can be part of it.”
If you go
WHAT: 23rd Annual Elmhurst St. Patrick’s Day Parade
WHEN: Noon March 9
WHERE: Steps off on Spring Road at Wilson Street and proceeds north to the railroads tracks one block south of St. Charles Road.