Sure, this whole COVID-19 mess has put somewhat of a damper on one of Rockford's (and America's) great party and celebration days, but nothing short of lockdown enforced by armed men is going to stop it.

Back in the 1980s, I hosted the afternoon show here on 1440 WROK, and St. Patrick's Day was always a big day for us. For years, we took the St. Patty's day show on the road to Jungle Jim's at 1431 North Main Street. The fun began around noon, and sometimes (alright, usually) lasted well into the next day. For those who remember taking part in those broadcast parties, your hangover should just about be gone.

I was also lucky enough to host the Irish Marching Society's annual St. Patrick's parade for about 10 years, when the parade used to begin at Amcore Bank then wind its way up North Main past Beattie Park to the Rockford Armory for a huge party that was always a great time.

Times change, and this year the Irish Marching Society got really creative in dealing with the pandemic by putting together a really cool car parade that anyone could join in on. Hopefully by the time we're talking about St. Patty's Day next year, we'll be talking about things getting back to normal here in Rockford and the rest of the country.

How much do Americans love to celebrate St. Patrick's Day? I promised you a look at St. Patty's by-the-numbers, so let's see what we've got.

  • Number and percentage of Americans who claim Irish ancestry (InfoPlease.com): 32.7 million or 10.2%
  • Number of Irish-Americans living in Chicago as of 2015 (InfoPlease.com): 201,530. That's second to only New York City's 357,147, with Philadelphia's 176,725.
  • Number of countries other than the United States who enjoy a Guinness on St. Patrick's Day (Forbes.com): 149
  • Amount of dye used to turn the Chicago river green (Forbes.com): 40 pounds, which lasts about 5 hours.
  • Percentage of people who plan on celebrating St.Patrick's Day by wearing green (WalletHub): 84% of women, 77% of men.
  • Market value of a leprechaun's pot of gold, assuming it contained 1000 1-ounce gold coins (WalletHub): $1.6 million.

 

15 Iconic Retail Stores That Don't Exist Anymore (But We Totally Miss Shopping At)