Only in Chicago.
On Saturday, March 17, 2012, Chicago will continue its 50-year-tradition of dyeing the Chicago River green for St. Patrick’s Day. Many have tried to copy Chicago, but none have managed to perfect the brilliant shades of emerald green that makes the river the centerpiece of Chicago’s celebrations.
If you’re dyeing to do something a little different for this year’s St. Pat’s Day, which promises to be picture perfect, head to the Chicago River for this spectacular event.
What You Need to Know Before You Go.
It all started back in 1961 when Stephen Bailey, Business Manager of the Chicago Journeymen Plumbers Local Union #110, was
discussing plans with a colleague for the 1962 St. Patrick’s Day Parade. During the meeting, Bailey was approached by a plumber who was wearing coveralls that were originally white but had been stained the perfect shade of Irish green by the dye used to detect leaks in the Chicago River. Immediately, Bailey asked why couldn’t this dye be used to turn the river green for St. Patrick’s Day. After some testing and research…the tradition was born.
From Then to Now.
The first year, 1962, one hundred pounds of dye was used to keep the river green for a week. The second year, 1963, the amount was cut to 50 lbs. and the river stayed green for three days. The next year the dye was reduced to 25 lbs. which keep the river green for a day.
In 1966, when environmentalists threatened to end the tradition by claiming that the oil-based dye was ruining the river, the committee went back to the drawing board. After experimenting with a number of vegetable dyes, they put together today’s formula that uses 40lbs. of environmentally-friendly dye to keep the river green for four or five hours.
When you first see the dye, you’ll notice it’s orange color. Then after a moment or two you’ll see the transformation to green magically appear.
Best Viewing Spots.
Best locations for the general public to view the dyeing of the river are: the east side of the Michigan Avenue Bridge; the west side of the Columbus Drive Bridge, and upper and lower Wacker Drive between Michigan Avenue and Columbus Drive. Plan on arriving by 10a.m.
Get High in the Sky.
Trump International Hotel & Tower is re-introducing its St. Patrick’s Day Skyboxes in conjunction with the dyeing of the Chicago River green and the parade. Located on the 17th Floor, with a bird’s eye view of Lake Michigan, the Chicago River and the city’s historic architecture, the Skyboxes can accommodate up to 40 people with the choice of either a breakfast or lunch package featuring traditional, gourmet Irish fare.
OR Rebar, the Trump Hotel’s mezzanine-level lobby that overlooks the Chicago River will be offering a prime viewing location along with their signature Shamrockatini cocktail, to fill St. Patrick’s Day revelers with the “Luck o’ the Irish.”
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