Chicago

Update: Chicago's St. Patrick's Day Parade Has Been Canceled Due to Coronavirus

D Guest Smith/Shutterstock
D Guest Smith/Shutterstock
D Guest Smith/Shutterstock

On March 11, it was announced that the 2020 St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Chicago had been postponed to an unspecified date. The decision was made “as a precautionary measure to prevent any additional spread of COVID-19,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a statement.

The following article was published prior to the announcement.We hope you’ve gotten ahead on all of your adult responsibilities (voting, taxes, laundry) because productivity is about to screech to a halt. This Saturday, the Chicago St. Patrick’s Day parade is celebrating its 65th anniversary, and it’s bound to be a special one. Dig out your green bowler hat, coat yourself in green body glitter, and get ready to squeeze as much fun out of St. Patrick’s Day as possible.

Google Maps
Google Maps
Google Maps

What time does the 2020 Chicago St. Patrick’s Day parade start and what is the route?

This year, the parade will kick off on Saturday, March 14 at noon sharp, beginning at the corner of Balbo and Columbus, heading north to Monroe Street. They’ve set up a viewing gallery right by Buckingham Fountain, so head there to stake out a spot. 

If you want the full Chicago St. Patrick’s Day parade experience, you’ll want to catch the dyeing of the Chicago River as well. As of now, it’s scheduled for 9am on the morning of the parade. Recommended viewing spots include the riverwalk between Michigan and Columbus, the west side of Columbus, and all along Lower and Upper Wacker Drive between Michigan and Columbus. We highly recommend arriving at least a half-hour early to carve yourself out a viewing spot. As an added bonus, all these spots are steps from the Buckingham Fountain, so you can just hop over there once the dyeing is done.

For more info, the official website has a bunch of FAQs, as well as VIP tickets for grandstand seating.

Roberto Galan/Shutterstock
Roberto Galan/Shutterstock
Roberto Galan/Shutterstock

What will the weather be like, and what should I wear?

According to Accuweather.com, the weather for this year’s parade will be cloudy, with a temperature between 31 and 38 degrees and a 10% chance of snow. Since you’ll be outdoors for the majority of the day, be sure to layer up, but don’t forget sunscreen for any exposed areas.

If you want to accessorize, consider stopping by Celtica Gifts. Not only do they have a whole bunch of amazing Irish jewelry and gifts, but they also have a ton of specialty foods that’ll make you nostalgic for Ireland even if you’ve never been there. 

Will Covid-19 affect the parade?

As of now, the parade is set to proceed as scheduled. However, the official parade site recommends that anybody who is experiencing flu-like symptoms stay home from the festivities. This is a developing matter, though, so be sure to check the site often for updates.

Roberto Galan/Shutterstock
Roberto Galan/Shutterstock
Roberto Galan/Shutterstock

What else is going on over the St. Patrick’s Day weekend?

The nice thing about the parade being where it is is that you literally won’t be able to walk a block without finding a bar hawking Guinness and corned beef sandwiches. That said, if you’re looking for something more authentic than dyed-green Old Style, head over to the Irish-American Heritage Center for their annual St. Patrick’s Day Festival. It’ll feature traditional Irish dancing, Irish gifts, and (of course) plenty of Irish food and drink.

If you’re trying to stay downtown, though, we recommend hopping over to Navy Pier and visiting Offshore, the nation’s largest rooftop bar. They’re running some pretty severe specials for the holiday — it’s probably the only time you’ll ever see a $5 beer sold on the entire Navy Pier grounds.Sign up here for our daily Chicago email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun in town.

Sam Greszes is a contributor for Thrillist. 

Chicago

Robyn DaCultyre Is Doing It for the Culture

"The cool thing about Ohio is that there is literally a place for everyone."

Photo by Kayode Omoyosi
Photo by Kayode Omoyosi
Photo by Kayode Omoyosi

I was introduced to Robyn DaCultyre at an Untitled Queen show at C’mon Everybody in late January, and it was one of the most unique drag shows I’d seen in a while. Afterwards, I tracked down this self-described “drag creature” and video chatted about her drag origin story, the state of drag in her native Ohio, and the dual identities that make up her persona. Thrillist: I want to ask you about how Robyn DaCultyre came about and your point of view behind your performance.

Robyn DaCultyre: I’ve been travelling around the country from a young age in ministry and Christian studies. I moved to Chicago right after high school. Four years later, moved back to Columbus and decided I didn’t really want to do church anymore; that wasn’t where my heart was.

I had a really low point in my life and had a suicide attempt and then really found drag and started doing drag as a coping mechanism and way to let off steam. I started in July of 2019, and it was really a lot of punk and metal music. I created this drag creature of sorts and they were really out of this world and celestial and all of those fun alien type terms.

And then we went into a global pandemic and I had a lot of time to figure out who I wanted to be. Digitally I was still doing a lot of drag creature-esque numbers and all of that, but I had this moment where we’re on the front lines getting hit with pepper spray and rubber bullets and pepper spray-all of those lovely things. And I said, I have this platform and I need to start showcasing what’s happening.

Untitled [Queen] stepped in at the right time and messaged me and said, “I’m doing this show for Independence Day called Untitled in America with 52 different performers and I want you to be a part of it.” It was at that moment I was able to take the footage I had been recording on the front lines and incorporate it into digital content. I did a song called Black Like Me by Mickey Guyton that talks about white picket fences, but if you want to see how America is, then you should try being Black like me. The imagery of what’s literally happening in Columbus in that digital performance really spearheaded me into focusing on people who look like me.

Nina Simone is one of my biggest inspirations, and one of her quotes that resonates with me is that it’s the duty of the artist to resonate with the times. My art is politically charged. I like to entertain, but there will definitely be a time when you come to a show expecting to have your drink and be chill and that might not be the case.

How did the name Robyn DaCultyre come about?

I was smoking with Ursula Major, who was on season one of Dragula, and the first time I introduced myself to her I was Robyn Banks, which is my drag name originally. She said, “Well, do you just not want to be original at all?” [Laughs] And I sat with that for a couple of months, and I got really stoned one day and was listening to Janelle Monae, and she talks about doing it for the culture, and I said “I do it for the culture, too!” And the rest is history.

And you started a series called Melanated.

We started Melanated last February. I told the idea to my show director that there were no shows specifically run by Black people that only featured Black entertainers. I wanted to do this show for a night and she said, Why don’t we do it once a week for the whole month? The first show happens, and it’s a sold out crowd, and [my director] comes back and says we should do this every month. So I sucked it up and here we are a year later.

Melanated is the only fully Black show in all of the state. It’s a horrible marketing tool and not something I want to promote, but it is just a fact. It amazes me that we are the 13th largest city in America and there’s nothing here that’s fully focused on Black entertainers. The name also comes from Janelle Monae; she says she’s highly melanated and I said, that works.

Photos by Chay Creates LLC (left) and Bridget Caswell (right)
Photos by Chay Creates LLC (left) and Bridget Caswell (right)
Photos by Chay Creates LLC (left) and Bridget Caswell (right)

You refer to yourself as a drag creature, as opposed to drag queen or king…

This is actually the first time I’m making this public. I am in this place where I want to separate the alternative creature from who this melanated goddess or whatever is. DaCultyre is definitely the person who runs Melanated and then Robyn is this drag creature that is out of this world and really loves punk and alternative music. And both intertwine to make Robyn DaCultyre.

You also do pageants. Tell me about that.

In 2020 I was appointed by Nina West, who is from Columbus, as the representative from Ohio for National Entertainer of the Year in Louisville, Kentucky. I placed ninth out of 13 contestants and I really fell in love with the system and fell in love with the pageantry and loved the idea of reigning and being different. I want to show that we as alternative performers, as bearded performers, you can come into these systems and shake things up.

Is there a uniquely “Ohio” style of drag?

No, and I think that’s one of the things that makes it so amazing is that everyone has their own unique style, and it’s all pretty much accepted. I started as a performer and a drag creature and there was space that was afforded to me and I transitioned to more glamor and pageantry and that’s afforded to me as well. I’ve been a bearded entertainer for a year now. The cool thing about Ohio is that there is literally a place for everyone.

I think I have everything I need. Is there anything else I didn’t ask you about that you want to bring up, or‚Ķ

I don’t think so. Are there any generic questions you haven’t asked?

Generic questions‚ĶI think I asked all of them already [laughs]. I like to ask what you’d be doing if you weren’t doing drag?

It’s a great question. I have a day job that is very demanding so I need drag to get away. I’m also very creative and artistic. I used to do web design and all these other things to pull into my creativity. Drag is the longest thing I’ve stuck with in all parts of my life, so I don’t think it’s going anywhere anytime soon.

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John deBary¬†is a drinks expert and writer. His first cocktail book,¬†Drink What You Want, is available now, and his next book,¬†Saved by the Bellini, is expected in early 2023. He is also the co-founder and president of the¬†Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation, which is dedicated to improving the lives of hospitality industry professionals through advocacy, grant making, and impact investing.

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