A 2021 Chicago’s St. Patrick’s Day Surprise! They Painted The River Green! Here’s The Story And History Of The Event!

A St. Patricks Day 2021 Surprise!

This is the Chicago River, freshly “painted” for the upcoming 2021 St. Patricks Day!

This “surprise” was the Mayor’s idea, after Covid has once again cancelled this city’s boisterous plans for celebration St. Patricks Day on March 17th.

Bravo to the Mayor keeping this tradition live, even as we work to get our of the pandemic!

If you don’t know about this tradition, let’s take a look at the year I attended the celebration in 2017!

Time To Paint Chicago Green!

It’s a St. Patrick’s Day tradition: the city of Chicago dyes their river green, as thousands of fans pack the shoreline to celebrate the big day!

Yes, you see lots of green apparel as well as beverages as the town goes wild for the Irish!

The city of Chicago began the “painting” of the river green in 1962.

The Beginning Of A “Green” Tradition!

The inspiration for the stunt originally came from pollution-control workers!

You see, their job involved them putting various chemical dyes into the river in order to trace illegal sewage discharges. Yep, they got the idea while looking for “sewage discharge!”

It’s A “Safe Greening!”

Don’t worry, over the years they have continued to refine this “very safe” process.

That first year, the city dumped 100 pounds of dye into the river, which left it green for an entire week!

I can tell you from seeing it up close: this river is incredible – and incredibly green!

Officials say they now use less than 25 pounds of dye, and it’s vegetable-based, so it is completely safe to everything in the water!

I was lucky enough to attend this celebration several times, and I filmed the celebration one year.

Here is a look at how they “paint” the river:

After the larger boat sprays the dye into the water, smaller boats stir it all in…the entire ceremony takes a half hour, then it’s on to the next celebration – a parade – followed by a day long celebration that lasts well into the night…

Even without the parade and parties, this annual tradition stays live for Chicagoans, who are proud of so many things, like Manny’s Deli – an iconic restaurant that serves up food like this:

This legendary restaurant in the southern shadow of the downtown “Loop” was struggling to survive during the pandemic in 2020, so they put out a call for help – and what a response they got!

Lines formed as people wore masks, safely distanced, and helped Manny’s weather the storm! And they got incredible sandwiches like this!

Click here to see my story on this terrific effort, and an “upclose” look at the incredible food I’ve had here!


And if you want incredible food in Chicago, what about a slice of deep dish pizza?

Yes, it IS as great as it looks…and for some reason, Chicago also has incredible fried chicken!

This is “honey butter fried chicken”, and if you click on my story, you can see more of their incredible menu!


If you like these stories, why not sign up to receive emails whenever I post? It’s easy to do, I do NOT collect any information about you at all, there are absolutely NO ads of any kind, just stories about movies, music, books, food, travel and pop culture…

You can sign up by clicking on my blog here and see the note on the right!


Sign up for a daily hit of social media, and. Happy St. Patricks Day to everyone – the big day is Wednesday, March 17th!

Categories: Art, Books / Media, chicago, Exotic Travel, Food, Memoirs, Pop Culture, Restaurants, Travel, Travel Adventures, Travel Memoir

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

14 replies

  1. This is a great tradition, John. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!


  2. Great tradition! My Chicago cousin just sent me some photos. My parents grew up in the Chicago suburbs, and I’ve visited many times.


  3. Wow this is incredible, so colourful. I hope it doesn’t do any harm to the environment.


  4. I’m happy to see the river painted green again!


  5. I love this tradition! Thank goodness it continues this year.


  6. This must be quite nostalgic for you, John. I assume it won’t be held again this year? It is a shame but at least there is a vaccine and things are starting to move towards normal. I am very excited about your trip to Spain.


  7. Glad to see they’re doing this again even if other events still have to be put on hold.


  8. I have no Irish connections, and as my birthday is the day before, I have never celebrated the 17th. However, the green river is a sight to see, and I would happily tuck in to any or all of that food! 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.


  9. Happy St Patrick’s Day! The history behind this event is fascinating (I had no idea) and I appreciate how the city is continuing this event this year despite the pandemic. We all need a little something to get us to the finish line. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Rust Belt Girl

reading and writing the Rust Belt with Rebecca Moon Ruark

Take It Easy

Retired, not expired: words from the after(work)life. And music. Lots of music!

Hey, Traveler

Sharing travel tips, ideas, and anecdotes with fellow wanderers, dreamers, doers, and lovers of life

Stevie Turner

Realist, writer, reader, reviewer and rocker.

Cornwall in Colours

inspired by the colours of the land, sea and sky of Cornwall

Bonjour From Brittany

Celebrating what makes Brittany unique

Let's Go To The Movies

Film and Theatre Lover!

SoraNews24 -Japan News-

Bringing you yesterday's news from Japan and Asia, today.

Bite! Eat! Repeat!

52 Cookbooks. 52 Recipes. A Tasty 2022!

A Teacher's Reflections

Thirty Years of Wonder

Tanooki Homemade Cafe

Yummy Homemade Food Recipes to Make You Smile:)

In Saner Thought

"It is the duty of every man, as far as his ability extends, to detect and expose delusion and error"..Thomas Paine

Pete Springer

Passionate Teacher and Future Children's Author


Follow us as we follow the road


Travel Through Ireland and Europe

Diary of A Movie Maniac

A Personal Journey Through Cinema & Television

Geeking Out about It

BlerdWatching Waaay Too Much TV


Tea, Tours and Escapades

Robbie's inspiration

Ideas on writing and baking

You can always start now

journaling to see some answers

Realweegiemidget Reviews Films TV Books and more

You can take the girl out of Glasgow. Entertainment Reviews from a Wee Scottish Wife and Stepmum living in Finland.

I didn't have my glasses on....

A trip through life with fingers crossed and eternal optimism.

Through the Shattered Lens

Where mainstream meets grindhouse, exploitation, otaku and gamers

Laura's Books and Blogs

Writing tips, giveaways, reviews, essays, and more!

Drew's Movie Reviews

Movie reviews from your average dude

But I Smile Anyway...

Musings and memories, words and wisdom... of a working family woman

Movie Reviews 101

Daily Movie Reviews

Cindy Bruchman

Photography. Observations. Adventures. Let's talk.

Invisibly Me

Live A Visible Life Whatever Your Health


The world's wildest movies from an era of "everything goes!"

Retired? No one told me!

Tonight I Dream. Tomorrow I Do!


The musings of a Londoner, now living in Norfolk

Cats and Trails and Garden Tales

Musings on cats, travel, gardens and life

Tranquil Dreams

Watching, Reading, Cooking & Travelling

An Historian About Town

History in the Making

Susie Lindau's Wild Ride

Adventures and Misadventures in Boulder, Colorado

It Rains... You Get Wet

Still more lazy thoughts from this one...

Admit One Film Addict

Psychotropic Cinema and more

emmakwall (explains it all)

Film & soundtrack reviews, good humour and lists


Burgers, Books, Music, Movies, Offbeat Adventures & Pop Culture!


Movie reviews and anything else that comes to mind

%d bloggers like this: