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Chicagoans have been packing Old St. Pat’s ‘World’s Largest Block Party’ since 1984. | File photo

World’s Largest Block Party back on original block — at Old St. Pat’s

SHARE World’s Largest Block Party back on original block — at Old St. Pat’s
SHARE World’s Largest Block Party back on original block — at Old St. Pat’s

The Old St. Pat’s World’s Largest Block Party, after a two-year stint on the University of Illinois Chicago campus, returns Friday to its original home near the historic Catholic church in the West Loop.

The two-day event — a fundraiser for the church — will be scaled down though, occupying one large parking lot instead of two, as it has for much of its 33-year history.

Several blocks of roadway will be taken over by food and drink vendors.

The following streets will be closed from 7 p.m. Thursday to 6 a.m. Sunday: Des Plaines from Madison to Adams; Monroe from the Kennedy Expressway to Jefferson.

However, officials will re-open Monroe Street from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Friday to accommodate rush-hour traffic.

The event will be scaled down — one large parking lot near Des Plaines and Monroe instead of two — and feature local musical talent instead of the major acts that have played in years past.

The cost of admission is also being scaled down — from $40 to a suggested $10 entry fee.

And the crowd — traditionally single-and-here-to-mingle — will have a few more families, with the addition of a “kid zone” beginning Saturday at 2 p.m. that will include a bounce house, face painting and carnival games.

In years past, pricey bands such as Barenaked Ladies, Counting Crows, Cheap Trick and Ben Folds Five have played the block party. But due to economics, space and competition with other festivals, organizers are going with smaller local bands this year.

The block party briefly moved to UIC after one of the parking lots it had traditionally used near the church was sold and no longer available, said Christopher Comes, a spokesman for the church.

“A lot of people from the parish were asking Pastor Tom Hurley if there was a way we could bring it back closer to the church. People wanted it right outside the church doors,” Comes said.

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