Dyeing of the Chicago River

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st patrick's day 2018,
Photograph: Grace DuVal

Time Out says

A tradition since 1962, representatives of the Journeymen Plumbers Local Union 130 pour dye into the Chicago River on the morning of the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade, turning the water a bright shade of green. The dye is vegetable-based, so the river typically reverts to its usual murky shade by the end of the weekend. The dyeing takes place between Columbus Drive and State Street, so head to the Michigan Avenue bridge or snag a spot along the Riverwalk for the best views of the action.


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The dyeing of the river is an essential Chicago experience and a great tradition. It turns a shockingly bright green. Plus, they call the dye "leprechaun dust"... which is fun!

Everyone should experience the green river at least once. It doesn't last long so make sure to be there a few minutes early from a prime viewing spot. It's also close enough to walk to Columbus Avenue St. Patrick's day parade at noon.