McHenry County Local News

Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade queen hails from McHenry

Everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17.

But in Chicago, everyone is Irish on Saturday, March 11, when the Chicago River is dyed green and the city hosts the 68th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

And McHenry County has a reason to pay special attention to this year’s parade: Casey Doherty of McHenry is the parade’s queen. Doherty was crowned in January by Plumbers Local 130 UA, sponsors of the Chicago parade. Local 130 has an office in Volo.

Doherty, a graduate of Northwestern University and DePaul Law School, works in Chicago as a data privacy consultant. She told me she has been part of Irish-related events and organizations, such as the Young Irish Fellowship of Chicago and the Irish American Heritage Center, since she was a child. She said being crowned parade queen is a dream come true. She’s been on the parade court twice before.

Being parade queen is a 12-month commitment to participating in community and civic events throughout the Chicago area. Besides the parade, she’s already made several appearances, including the Chicago Polar Plunge to benefit Special Olympics Chicago and Special Children’s Charities.

The St. Patrick’s Day Parade runs south to north on Columbus Drive. If you can’t make it to Saturday’s parade, the two-hour event will air live at 12:30 p.m. on ABC 7 Chicago.

“It will be a crazy day,” Doherty said, “and it’s a cool tradition to be part of.”

ENGAGEMENT IN ICE: Many of you may recall the recent photo on the front page of the Northwest Herald of a young couple getting engaged during an ice storm in Woodstock. The photograph was related to a news story about the storm, so there wasn’t much detail about the couple’s touching event.

Photographers and reporters try to capture the news as it unfolds. Sometimes events happen right in front of us. Other times, we would like to have a closer view but just can’t make it in time. This was one of those “just a little too far away” from the news times. Still, as you can see in this photo, our photographer Gregory Shaver captured just enough.

I asked Shaver to tell us the story.

Jonathan Gettig of Woodstock proposes to Lizzette Gettig of Chicago in the gazebo in the historic Woodstock Square on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2023, as a winter storm that produced rain, sleet, freezing rain, and ice moved through McHenry County.

He told me: “While I was looking for storytelling images from the ice storm, I headed to locations where I might find people. This time I was in the historic Woodstock Square, and I saw this couple in the gazebo, and just as I parked and got out of the car, the gentleman bent down. I wasn’t as close as I’d hoped, but I made as many images is I could. In other words, I received a gift. I was hoping to move about 20 feet to my right to get a cleaner photograph but, unfortunately, the moment happened before I could get there.”

The couple is Jonathan Gettig of Woodstock and Lizzette Valdez of Chicago. Their story is sweet.

Gettig said he was recreating their first date of about two years ago. It started out with hot chocolate from Starbucks and a walk around the Square. This time, the weather was a challenge, and the gazebo was inviting because it has a roof.

“When we got to the gazebo, I asked Lizzette to hold my hot chocolate, and she did,” Gettig told me. “Then I got down on my knee and asked her to marry me. There was a little awkward exchange. She was wearing gloves and had to give me back my hot chocolate and take off her glove, then I put the ring on her finger.”

Valdez said “yes” to Gettig’s proposal.

Then Shaver appeared and told them he was taking their photo for the Northwest Herald.

“It was a complete surprise and unexpected, but it was a good surprise,” said Gettig, who is a chef.

“We thought it was going to be a small photo on page six or something, but the next day we saw it was on the front page. People at work couldn’t believe it.”

The couple has not yet set a wedding date.

Dennis Anderson, vice president of news and content development for Shaw Media, lives in Crystal Lake. He’s looking to share news about you and your neighbors and special events and happenings. Share your Community Exchange news with him at

Dennis Anderson

Dennis Anderson

Dennis Anderson was the vice president of news operations for Shaw Media and editor of the Northwest Herald. He is nationally recognized for his community engagement work. Previously, we was Illinois Editor for GateHouse Media as well as executive editor of the Journal Star in Peoria, Illinois.