SURPRISE! Chicago River Dyed Green After City Previously Announced The Coolest Tradition In The Country Was Cancelled

Chicago River Green Saint Patrick's Day

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The city of Chicago pulled a fast one on its residents on Saturday morning. Mayor Lori Lightfoot and those involved with the traditional St. Patrick’s Day celebration had declared as recently as yesterday that the big parades were to be cancelled and the river would not undergo its transition to Kelly green due to COVID-19. However, the announcement turned out to be a smokescreen, and the famous river dyeing proceeded without confirming the exact time in efforts to reduce spectator gatherings. The first boat went out around 7:00 a.m. and the river was glistening green shortly thereafter. It’s such an awesome visual.

The tradition dates back to 1962 and the story goes that plumbers in the 1960s used the green of the dye to keep track of where pollution seeped into the river. Upon seeing a worked coated in the leprechaun green after a day on the job, the union boss — who also organized Chicago’s St. Patrick’s Day parade — hatched a plan to turn the river green for the celebrations. Every year since, except for 2020’s coronavirus cancellation, the dyeing takes place between Columbus Drive and State Street, and it usually keeps the river green for a few days.

While the exact concoction of the dye is unknown, it is vegetable based and only requires about 40 pounds of powdered dye to transform the river into a celebratory color. The green river makes for some pretty amazing images of the Windy City.

Saint Patrick’s Day is on Wednesday, and it will look different in Chicago for the second-straight year, but the dyeing of the river provides some sense of normalcy for a city that has been on lockdown for almost 365 days.