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Chicago have once again turned their river bright green for St Patrick’s Day

With a huge population of Irish-Americans, it’s no surprise that the windy city turns up the heat when it comes to St Patricks Day celebrations. We’re not just talking green jumpers and Guinness, though...

Irish culture permeates throughout the concrete streets and high rise buildings of Chicago. From bagpipers and Irish dancers to green doughnuts and confectionaries, Chicago is undeniably the place to be on St Paddy’s day. Everything goes green – even the Chicago River, which has become the featured spectacle of the Irish festivities.

The annual dyeing of the Chicago River has been a tradition since 1962 when it was originally used to allow the Mayor to see where sewage was occurring. Pretty gross right?

Yet gross as it was, it morphed into a beautiful tradition wherein green dye is dumped into the river to turn it a beautiful shade of dazzling emerald.

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The dye is eco-friendly and actually appears orange at first glance as it sits on the river’s surface. It takes around 45 minutes for the orange to transform into a bright green colour. ‘How on earth does orange dye produce green water?’ you might be wondering. The organisers claim it to be nothing short of leprechaun magic…

This beloved tradition draws roughly 400,000 spectators to take in the green water. If you are planning to make the pilgrimage to the river, get your skates on: the colour only stays green for about 5 hours, which, with how jam-packed the local taverns are, is about the same amount of time it would take you to get served for a pint of perfectly prepared Guinness. Don’t want to be left high and dry? Plan your pub crawl route well in advance…

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And the festivities definitely don’t stop there. The St Patricks Day Parade is one of the city’s most popular events and one of 3 huge parades in the city, with thousands of parade-goers marching around town past the green river.

Crowds of spirited people fill the city streets and the Irish pubs are packed with partygoers. No matter whether you’re braving the crowds for a pub crawl or parking it next to the river with a green doughnut, you’re guaranteed to have an epic St Paddy’s day like never before in Chi-town. Just make sure you wear green…

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