Dundees revel in St. Pat’s festivities
By Erin Sauder For The Courier-News March 16, 2013 7:40PM
03/16/2013 East Dundee Grand Marshall Dan O' Leary of East Dundee, leads the Annual St. Patrick's Day parade in East Dundee on Saturday, March 16, 2013. | Michael Jarecki ~ For Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 18, 2013 6:43AM
Gray skies and light snow did little to damper the mood in the Dundee area Saturday as those from near and far celebrated the St. Patrick’s Day holiday.
Donning winter hats, scarves and mittens, people lined the streets for the seventh annual St. Patrick’s parade in East Dundee which stepped off at 11 a.m. at Rosie O’Hare’s.
The chill in the air was a far cry from last year when the near summer temperatures had paradegoers in flip flops and shorts.
“The weather isn’t quite as nice as last year but at least it isn’t raining,” said East Dundee resident Cam Brunner, who came out to the parade.
Because his birthday is near the St. Patrick’s Day holiday, he invited friends and family to celebrate by attending the area events.
“We’re using our house as a homebase so people can do whatever they want to do around here,” he said.
The day’s celebration’s continued with an adult Big Wheel race at noon, hosted by Emmett’s Tavern & Brewing Company, with participants heading downhill in heats from Fourth and Washington to around Second Street.
Race participant Dave Bennett of Elgin initially heard about the event after hearing locals talk about it.
He also watched some YouTube videos people had posted of races from years past and decided to enter.
“I thought it sounded awesome,” he said.
He checked out local toy stores to get prices on Big Wheels tricycles and found some at a cheaper price on Craigslist.
And after participating in this year’s race he said he’ll be back next year.
“It was fun,” Bennett said. “I definitely want to do it again.”
As to whether Lombard resident Matt Michalski would participate again, “absolutely,” he said.
“I loved it,” he said. “I wish I didn’t get such a slow start.”
Emmett’s followed up the Big Wheels Race with its annual Follow the Firkin Parade, where revelers marched — with a small wooden barrel of beer brewed for the occasion — for a block before returning to Emmett’s for its traditional tapping.
Rob Kwiatek, general manager at the restaurant said they’ve been doing the tapping for about 10 years, and the Big Wheels Race about seven years.
“The Big Wheels Race seems to double every year,” he said.
He looks forward to putting on events for the community.
“We’re packed day and night,” he said. “We start the day with the Kegs and Eggs Buffet to kick it off right.
It’s just festivities and fun and a big celebration for St. Patrick’s Day.”