Chicago River turns green as city celebrates St. Patrick's Day

Workers will once again dye the Chicago River green during the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in Chicago on Saturday. | Sun Times file

Back in 1961, a plumber noticed a dye used to detect leaks turned his white coveralls a green color and that's when they got the idea to dye the river.

Politicians, residents and tourists later joined the parade through downtown Chicago. "Once the orange powder hits the water, it turns a vibrant green and the second boat follows and stirs it up to make sure that that dye spreads out".

This year, the Irish holiday falls on Friday, March 17.

On Saturday, the Chicago Journeymen Plumbers Union took to the Chicago River for its annual green-tinting event, pouring dye into the waters to celebrate the upcoming St. Patrick's Day.

Saturday's parade had all the familiar touchstones of past parades, from emerald-adorned revelers, military marching bands, kilt-clad bagpipers and high-kicking to curly-haired Irish dancers.

The Union planned the dyeing and subsequent parade this year. "Now we all get to take a bit of St. Patrick's Day in Chicago home with us".

City officials could not provide a crowd estimate.

Thousands of people are turning out for St. Patrick's Day celebrations in Chicago this weekend.

The city's Office of Emergency Management and Communications said parking restrictions and road closures will be in place.

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