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Dying the Chicago River Green

Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park

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A modern day miracle occurs each year as part of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade celebration when the Chicago River turns an incredible shade of Irish green. As part of a more than fifty-year-old Chicago tradition, the Chicago River is dyed green each year by Plumbers Union, Local 130 the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day.

The tradition of dyeing the river green arose by accident when some plumbers used dye to detect leaks turned the perfect shade of Green in the Chicago River.

To this day, the dyeing of the river is still sponsored by Local 130. A closely guarded secret, the orange dye added to the Chicago River and mixed with motor boats until a perfect shade of emerald green.

The dying of the River is the official opening of the Chicago’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities. Drawing more than 100,000 celebrants the parade. The parade steps off at 12pm, at Balbo and Columbus, just a few blocks from the Fairmont.

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Erin Go Bragh!


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