Chicago River Turns A Magical Shade Of Green For St. Patrick’s Day: Watch

chicago river green

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! The Chicago River is officially green! 

The Windy City has continued its long-standing tradition of dying the river an electric hue of emerald to kick off the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. For those of you wanting to watch the festivities live, you can do so here

If you’re wondering how they get the water to turn that color, so are we, and so are many cities around the country. It is not as simple as putting green dye into the water. 

Interestingly, the Chicago Plumbers Union, which has been carrying out the tradition since 1962, has a top-secret concoction that is orange as it comes out of hoses. Workers boat around the river and spray it over the top of the river. When it hits the water, it turns green. 

According to Chicago 5, the Plumber’s Union refuses to tell anyone or anything how it makes its magic. There are been multiple cities that have tried to replicate the tradition and failed. So the St. Patty’s Day green river remains unique to Chicago. 

“If you were watching this for the first time you would think this is a mistake or a bad joke,” a rep with the union said. “You see the dye is orange, and its initial color on the surface of the river is orange, and you would think to yourself what ‘heathen would do something like this.’”

A Stroke of Luck Helped Spark Chicago’s St. Patrick’s Day Green River Tradition

The tradition came as a stroke of luck, fittingly. As legend has it, sometime in 1961, Local 130’s business manager Stephen Bailey was approached by one of his plumbers one day. And his coveralls were a brilliant shade of green—the same shade as Ireland’s Emerald Isle. 

As it turned out, the worker’s clothing was stained by the dye they used to detect leaks in the river. At that moment, Stephen came up with the idea that stands today. He called the mayor to ask permission, and the rest is history. 

If you watched the boats transform the Chicago River, you can stick around and watch the parade on the live stream. The festivities begin at 12:15! 

You can find the source of this story’s featured image here

Want to be happier in just 5 minutes a day? Sign up for Morning Smile and join over 455,000+ people who start each day with good news.