Have you ever wondered when they dye the river green in Chicago? It’s a fascinating tradition that takes place annually around St. Patrick’s Day. The vibrant green river is an iconic symbol of Chicago and its Irish heritage. If you’re curious about the history and details of this unique event, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll explore the tradition of dyeing the river green in Chicago and answer the question, “When do they dye the river green in Chicago?”
The Tradition of Dyeing the River Green
The tradition of dyeing the Chicago River green dates back to the early 1960s. It was first started by a plumber named Stephen M. Bailey, who was part of the Chicago Journeymen Plumbers Local Union No. 110. In 1962, Bailey discovered a way to dye the river green using a vegetable dye. He and his colleagues initially used 100 pounds of dye to achieve the vibrant green color, which lasted for about a week.
Over the years, the process of dyeing the river green has evolved. Today, an environmentally friendly vegetable dye is used, which is harmless to the river’s ecosystem. The dye is orange in its concentrated form and turns the river into a beautiful shade of green when mixed with water. The dyeing process is carried out by a team of volunteers from the Chicago Journeymen Plumbers Local Union No. 130, who pour the dye into the river from boats.
When Do They Dye the River Green?
The exact date and time of when they dye the river green in Chicago varies from year to year, but it always takes place a few days before St. Patrick’s Day. In general, the river is dyed green on the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day, unless the holiday falls on a Saturday, in which case it is dyed on the day itself. In 2024, St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Sunday, so the river will be dyed green on Sunday, March 12th. It’s important to note that the dyeing of the river usually occurs in the morning, around 9:00 a.m.
The dyeing of the river is a highly anticipated event in Chicago and attracts thousands of spectators each year. People gather along the riverbanks to catch a glimpse of the transformation and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. The downtown area near the river is also filled with festive activities, including parades, concerts, and cultural performances.
Other St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations in Chicago
In addition to dyeing the river green, Chicago hosts a variety of other St. Patrick’s Day celebrations and events. The annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade is one of the highlights, featuring marching bands, floats, and performances by Irish dance groups. The parade usually takes place on the same day as the river dyeing and follows a route through downtown Chicago.
Another popular event is the South Side Irish Parade, which is known for its family-friendly atmosphere. The parade takes place in the Beverly neighborhood and showcases the rich Irish heritage of the area. Visitors can enjoy live music, traditional Irish food, and activities for children.
If you’re looking for a more party-oriented celebration, the St. Patrick’s Day bar crawl is a must-attend event. Participants dress in green and visit various bars and pubs throughout the city, enjoying drinks and live music along the way.
The tradition of dyeing the river green in Chicago is a beloved and iconic event that captures the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day. Whether you’re a local resident or a visitor to the city, witnessing the vibrant green river is a sight to behold. So mark your calendars and make sure to be in Chicago on Sunday, March 12th, 2024, to experience this magical tradition firsthand. Remember to arrive early to secure a good viewing spot along the riverbanks and immerse yourself in the festive atmosphere of St. Patrick’s Day in the Windy City.