How green is your town or city willing to go for St. Patrick’s Day?
I was surprised when I first learned how far Chicago was willing to go every year to celebrate the Irish and had to learn more…. On March 17th it’s not unusual for towns to have people dressed as various green versions of leprechauns, singing irish tunes at the tops of their lungs and ‘cheersing’ (not a real word) mugs of green beer, but it is definitely unusual to have a city turn their water green!
Every year, on the Saturday prior to March 17th Chicago has it’s St. Patrick’s Day parade and it is on that same day that the city turns the Chicago River bright green! Boats drive back and forth between Michigan Avenue on the west and Columbus Drive on the east spilling green dye into the water and the results are unbelievable!
How did this tradition get started you wonder? Well apparently Steve Bailey, a business manager of the Plumbers Local Union for Chicago in the early 1960’s came up with the idea after learning an emerald green dye was being used to put into waste water lines to see if buildings were dumping pollution into the river. Mr. Bailey consequently came up with the idea of purposely dying a section of the river to help celebrate St. Patrick’s Day every year. Photos of the river on the weekend just prior to St. Patrick’s Day every year are spectacular and are truly a ‘must see’!
And no…. it won’t be that you’ve been over served…. that really is a flying leprechaun catapulting in and out of the emerald waters!
Chicago, while known for its great food, museums, architecture, classical and formal theatre as well as their many clubs among other things; I have to say that the Irish in me is certainly drawn to see yet one more wonder of Chicago… their emerald green Chicago River during St. Patrick’s Day festivities. I can see organizing an Eventastic Bus Trip to Chicago in my near future! Will you be adding Chicago to your bucket list?