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!

https://johnrieber.com/2020/07/16/mannys-deli-needs-your-help-chicagos-iconic-restaurant-calls-for-action-fans-respond-heres-the-food/

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!

https://johnrieber.com/2017/01/14/chicagos-fried-chicken-battle-parsons-vs-honey-butter-fried-chicken-a-delicious-taste-test/

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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

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14 replies

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

    Like

  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.

    Like

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

    Like

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

    Like

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

    Like

  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.

    Like

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

    Like

  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.

    Like

  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

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