South Side Irish Parade names first queen

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Margaret McGann, 2013 Queen of the South Side Irish St. Patrick's Day Parade

Margaret McGann, whose family has run a well-known Beverly eatery for years, will be the first to wear the crown. McGann, of Palos Heights, was recently named Queen of the South Side Irish St. Patrick’s Day Parade

She will ride in a vintage convertible during the parade alongside: Nancy To, Miss Illinois 2012; Marisa Buchheit, Miss Heart of Illinois 2013; and Margaret Rose Keating, 2012 Chicago Rose of Tralee. Keating crowned McGann at a pre-parade fundraiser party at 115 Bourbon St. in Merrionette Park.

“I am so honored to be named Queen of the 2013 South Side Irish Parade,” McGann said. “It means so much to be to be able to represent my community and be an ambassador of Irish tradition and heritage on behalf of the South Side Irish Parade.”

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The Parade Committee hopes the new tradition of a parade queen will continue, as it is a great way to highlight the Irish heritage and cultural celebration that the parade represents to the community. McGann, whose Irish roots stem from County Roscommon, County Mayo, County Cork and County Kerry, Ireland, has been a fan of the parade for years, and participated as a Closskey Irish Dancer as she marched down Western Avenue. She attended Mount Assisi Academy and St. Ambrose University before returning to the South Side to work in her family’s business, Beverly Woods, a restaurant and banquet hall established in 1954 and located on Western Avenue along the parade route.

“The South Side Irish Parade is a celebration of Irish culture and heritage,” said Joe Connelly, co-chair of the 2013 Parade. “As the Queen of the Parade, Margaret McGann serves as a representative for the parade’s values of community, heritage and family.”

A benefit of the newly crowned Queen of the South Side Irish St. Patrick’s Day Parade is that McGann will be entered into a pool of contestants vying to be named the Chicago Rose of Tralee on Saturday, April 27 at the Irish American Heritage Center of Chicago. The Chicago Rose of Tralee will then travel to Ireland to compete in the 54th Rose of Tralee International Festival August 14-20.

The Rose of Tralee International Festival is one of Ireland’s largest and longest running cultural festivals. The heart of the festival is the selection of the Rose of Tralee, which brings young women of Irish descent from around the world to County Kerry, Ireland, for a global celebration of Irish culture.

For more information about the 2013 South Side Irish St. Patrick’s Day Parade, please visit www.southsideirishparade.org or www.facebook.com/southsideirishparade. For more information about the Chicago Rose of Tralee, please visit http://www.chicagoroseoftralee.com.

Provided by The South Side Irish St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee