photo courtesy of pbs.twimg.com
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.
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.
photo courtesy of http://www.chicagostpatsparade.com/
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!
– photo courtesy of chicagotribune.com
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!