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Celebrating Saint Patrick's Day can get expensive--all that green beer and corned beef adds up--but the parades, at least, are free. The Chicago St. Patrick's Day Parade kicks off Saturday at noon from the north end of Grant Park; from there, floats, bagpipers, and thousands of marchers travel south on Columbus to Monroe. Beforehand, watch the traditional dyeing the river green at 10:45 AM, which this year takes place just east of Columbus (the best places to watch, according to the official Web site, are the east side of the bridge at Columbus and upper and lower Wacker between Columbus and Lake Shore Drive).
Then on Sunday, the annual South Side Irish Parade will step off from 104th and Western at noon. From there, the parade will continue south on Western to 115th; the grand marshal this year is the Muscular Dystrophy Association--Chicago Region.