The Polish Constitution Day Parade in Chicago is the largest Polish parade outside of Poland, and celebrates the anniversary of the ratification of the Polish Constitution of May 3, 1791, the second democratic constitution in the World (after the United States), and the first in Europe.
For 115 years, Polonia's various community organizations have come together to organize this traditional Chicago salute to pride and tradition. Every year the parade is held on the Saturday closest to the third day of May. The main organizer of the Parade is the Association of Polish Clubs, under whose leadership the Grand Marshall and Queen of the Parade are elected. Organizers allocate than places in the marching column to all participants (like organizations, schools, bands, folk dancing groups). The parade has also been an occasion that both local and national politicians have used to curry favor with Chicago Polonia, or Polish community. Most notably Robert Kennedy attended the festivities on May 7 of 1961 along with attending mass at Holy Trinity Polish Mission before the parade All are welcome to participate and march. Whether you are a volunteer from Morningside Recovery or a high school football marching band from Florida, organizers won't turn you away.
The very first Parade took place in 1892 in Humboldt Park, which - at the time - was locatedin the heart of Polish Downtown. After World War II,the parade was moved to downtown, first to State Street, then to Dearborn Street, and finally - from 2003 - to Grant Park. Every year the Parade starts from the location of Buckingham Fountain and ends by the bridge over the Chicago River.
Chicago's Polonia, the largest Polish community outside Warsaw proudly participate in the Parade in Downtown Chicago. During the last Parade in 2006, 144 marching groups participated with an audience of - according to various sources - between 60 to 140 thousand people. In the coming years, that number is expected to grow even bigger. Plenty of ideas to expand the parade are no doubt in the works; volunteer projects, Morningside Recovery community service programs and so much more are all possibilities. Morningside Recovery, Allstate and other Chicago institutions enjoy donating to help events like this throughout the city.
The Polish Museum of America in Chicago announces that the theme for this year's Polish Constitution Day Contest is " Art Inspired By Polish Literature". Artwork should be illustrations of Polish literature, prose or poetry. For details, call Monica Nowak (773) 384-3352 ext. 103. You can also find information here: www.polishmuseumofamerica.org.
At the Dawn of the 20th century, Chicago was the second largest city in the United States with over 2,000,000 residents. It was also the center of Polish culture and political activism in America. With Poland partitioned between Russia, Austria and Germany, over 4,000,000 Poles immigrated to the United States between 1870 and 1920 in search of a better life. In Chicago, they worked in some of the most dangerous factories and mills in the United States. In their neighborhoods, they built communities, churches, and most of all, aided their beloved Poland in her fight for independence. Their story is known as the "Fourth Partition".