Chicago River Salutes St. Patrick’s Day in a brilliant, green way!

Chicago River Green 2015 2

– photo courtesy

Irish eyes must certainly be smiling again this year with the annual green dyeing of the Chicago River in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.

Have a look at this video to see a speedy version of how this transformation takes place:

– video courtesy of frootis at

Let’s take a quick jaunt down memory lane to see how this tradition transformed the way Chicagoans view St. Patrick’s Day.

In 1962, Mayor Richard J. Daley advocated to his old school friend (and Chicago Plumbers Union business manager) Stephen Bailey, that part of Lake Michigan be dyed green to celebrate to St. Patrick’s Day.  Mr. Bailey proposed a more practical suggestion:  dye the Chicago River green instead.  Thus became a ritual steeped in mystery as to the actual concoction from which the dye is made.  The only reveal is that it is vegetable-based, environmentally friendly, and lasts a mere few days when ‘magically’ the water is revised back to its original hue.  The Chicago Plumbers Union, Local 130, have participated in the pouring of the powder ever since.

Chicago River Green 2015 1

– photo courtesy of

As you can see in the above photo, the enigmatic powder is actually orange until it mixes with motion.  Ah, then the fun begins!  Approximately 40 pounds of the grit is all it takes to change the Chicago River a brilliant green.  Believe it or not, the river rears its green sheen after about 45 minutes!

Chicago River Green 2015 3

– photo courtesy of

There is a large Irish population in Chicago; however, St. Patrick’s Day celebrations are for everyone; why, one look at the river and you’ll understand what inclusive really means!

  40 comments for “Chicago River Salutes St. Patrick’s Day in a brilliant, green way!

  1. March 15, 2015 at 3:10 pm

    Wow this is so cool, Cher!! How fascinating! This always reminds me of the scene in The Fugitive with Tommy Lee Jones and Harrison Ford – have you seen that?

    Hope your Sunday is feeling . . . lucky . . ! 😉

    Super sized hugs your way, my sweet friend! XOXOXO

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 15, 2015 at 3:13 pm

      Hi dear, isn’t it cool! No, I haven’t seen that, but now you know I’ll have to for sure; thank you, Allison! Ah bless; to you as well my dear friend! Cher xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

      • March 15, 2015 at 3:27 pm

        It’s great – Tommy Lee says something like “If they dye the river green one day a year why can’t they dye it blue the other 364 days of the year?” Too funny.

        Thanks for your great post! I love the new look of your blog by the way! 😉


        Liked by 1 person

      • March 15, 2015 at 3:38 pm

        Oh I absolutely must see that! Thank you for telling me about it! Ah, bless! Thank you, Allison! That means so much to me coming from YOU!! Cher xo

        Liked by 1 person

      • March 15, 2015 at 3:41 pm

        Haha Cher – if you see it – do feel free to send me random quotes from the movie. My son and I could practically recite the whole thing, lol.

        Stay gorgeous, my friend!!! 😉 XO

        Liked by 1 person

      • March 15, 2015 at 3:44 pm

        I shall certainly let you know of some of my fav quotes when I watch it! Ah, thank you, dear! You too!! Cher xo

        Liked by 1 person

  2. March 15, 2015 at 3:30 pm

    Nice! Is Rahmbo promising to walk on green water if re-elected?


  3. March 15, 2015 at 3:50 pm

    Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    This is awesome …. thx for sharing!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 15, 2015 at 4:04 pm

      Thank you so much, dear Horty! Cher xo


  4. Carolyne Garman
    March 15, 2015 at 6:38 pm

    I liked the bright light reflections of the building windows in the water on the upper left part of the river, They appear at about second #36 and get brilliant at about #58 and then gradually disappear.


    • March 15, 2015 at 6:55 pm

      It’s a great effect, isn’t it? Love, Cher xo


  5. March 15, 2015 at 8:30 pm

    What a vividly captured scene…! Keep it up! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 15, 2015 at 8:33 pm

      Thank you for your kind words; I didn’t take these photos, but they are great captures of the river, aren’t they? Cher xo

      Liked by 1 person

  6. March 15, 2015 at 8:48 pm

    The Chicago, St. Patricks Day Parade is on my bucket list to see the green river.

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 15, 2015 at 8:50 pm

      Ah, bless! I think that’s wonderful! Such great fun! You would love it! Cher xo

      Liked by 1 person

  7. March 15, 2015 at 9:49 pm

    Love the video, all those little ants scurrying about!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. March 16, 2015 at 6:48 am

    Thanks for sharing! 🙂


    • March 16, 2015 at 7:19 am

      Thanks so much for stopping by and having a look at this crazy green river!! *grin* Cher xo

      Liked by 1 person

  9. March 16, 2015 at 5:41 pm

    Love the green river, Cher. Gorgeous. What a lovely idea! Nice post.


    • March 16, 2015 at 7:19 pm

      Thank you, dear Carol! It is quite a nice tradition!! I am so happy to hear that the dye is vegetable based and environmentally friendly, too! Cher xo

      Liked by 1 person

  10. March 16, 2015 at 6:20 pm

    My daughter and son-in-law have never mentioned this phenomenon! Thanks so much.


    • March 16, 2015 at 7:18 pm

      Well you shall have to let them know you are quite informed about the St. Patrick’s Day tradition of their city! *grin* Cher xo


  11. March 17, 2015 at 12:19 am

    You guys know how to party! Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Angel.

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 17, 2015 at 8:03 am

      Ah dear seeker! Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you, my dear! Big hugs, Cher xo


  12. March 18, 2015 at 10:31 am

    I’ve been boasting on Facebook, Cher, that I now know, courtesy of your blog, that Chicago has a river (fancy that!) and it gets dyed green on St Patrick’s Day. Fancy that, too! xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 18, 2015 at 11:41 am

      Love it, Mo! *LOL* And I have seen it for myself, and it does look THAT green!! Thanks for spreading the word, dearie!! Big hugs, Cher xo


  13. March 20, 2015 at 7:11 pm

    This is incredibly cool!

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 20, 2015 at 7:19 pm

      Hi Mary!! So good to see you! Hope you are feeling well! Yes, it is a really neat thing they do here in Chicago! And truly, the river is THAT green *well, for a day or two* Cher xo

      Liked by 1 person

      • March 20, 2015 at 8:21 pm

        I am doing good! It looks like so much fun up there 🙂 have a fantastic weekend!


      • March 21, 2015 at 2:37 pm

        Ah, bless! Lots going on in CHItown, that’s for sure!! And to you as well my dear, thank you! Cher xo

        Liked by 1 person

  14. March 21, 2015 at 9:55 am

    That’s hilarious!! We don’t do anything so grand-scale in Ireland! My funnest Paddy’s days have always been abroad- the world seems to throw themselves into the celebrations more than we do! Thanks for sharing this, had never heard of it and now definitely want to get to it some year!x

    Liked by 2 people

    • March 21, 2015 at 2:47 pm

      Well I think everyone reading this will be extremely interested to know that Ireland doesn’t do what we are doing about St. Patrick’s Day! *biggest grin* Oh my dear Laura, can you hear me laughing from here? Cher xo

      Liked by 2 people

  15. March 17, 2017 at 3:11 pm

    Nice to read some good ‘current events!’ what an awesome tradition!!

    Liked by 1 person

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