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Chicago River dyed green for St. Patrick's Day

CHICAGO (AP) -- The Chicago River is glowing a bright emerald green Saturday as the city kicks off its St. Patrick's Day celebrations.

Thousands of cheering onlookers clustered along downtown bridges as members of Chicago Journeymen Plumbers Union Local 130 began dumping containers of dye into the river from motorboats Saturday morning. The annual tradition began at 9:30 a.m. and immediately precedes the St. Patrick's Day parade.

The union has done the dyeing since 1962. Organizers had feared that large chunks of ice would impede the process, but recent warm temperatures kept the river clear. The hue typically lasts about six to 12 hours.

The parade began at noon. The route winds through downtown and ends at the landmark Buckingham Fountain.

A second parade on the city's South Side takes place Sunday.

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Geoffrey March 15 2014 at 7:58 PM

How much dye does it take to dye a river and are their any affects on the animals?

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4 replies
Yvonne March 15 2014 at 4:55 PM

YEA!!! I love it, it could only be better if I were there!! If taxpayers aren't paying for it (they aren't) then enjoy it!!! Would love to see this here in Boston in the Charles River. Saliente!!

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Patrick March 16 2014 at 12:29 AM

Looks no different than usual.

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Applez64 March 15 2014 at 9:39 PM

Looks cool! Wish we could do it in CA but sadly our rivers are disappearing! Happy St. Patrick's Day! And as you slide down the banister of life, may all the splinters be pointing backwards!

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Hello, Mary March 15 2014 at 5:26 PM

It's a great effect. Hope it doesn't pollute the waters .... nothing can be done about the politics!

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forestparkbill March 15 2014 at 9:08 PM

THIS JUST IN.......the first year they did it, they used 100 lbs. of dye and the river stayed green for a week. The next year they cut it down to 50 lbs. and it lasted 3 days. They now use 25 lbs. and that seems to be the right amount. It lasts for the day (6-12 hours...depending on the current etc.) It really is beautiful!

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YourFtr March 15 2014 at 8:53 PM

Looks like the color of my '69 Camaro !

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Ed Baggett March 15 2014 at 7:30 PM

St Patrick's Day just another excuse to get knee walkin' drunk.....

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wishfulthinkerib March 15 2014 at 6:45 PM

So nice to see us polluting the water as if it needs it. Doesnt anyone care anymore??

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4 replies
Diane Stearns March 15 2014 at 6:49 PM

Ahh, Chicago has always been an Irish City and St. Patrick's Day is great fun! People watch the parade and drink a little green beer while celebrating. I wish that I still lived there....

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1 reply
David S. Diane Stearns March 15 2014 at 9:28 PM

I don't think of Chicago as an Irish city, more like a German one. Boston would be the Irish city....

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