The Chicago River was dyed green Saturday to kick off St. Patrick’s Day celebrations across the city.
Now in its 55th year, the annual tradition draws hundreds of thousands of spectators to downtown Chicago ahead of the city’s St. Patrick’s Day parade.
The event began at 9 a.m., when members of the Chicago Journeymen Plumbers union started to dump a secret concoction off the sides of their boats.
It takes more than 45 pounds of the environmentally friendly vegetable dye to color the water, using a powdered formula that begins orange before it mixes with the water to turn the river bright green.
Legend has it that the green water connects Chicago to Ireland, as it flows into the Illinois River, the Mississippi River, the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, all the way into the Irish Sea.
The dye typically lasts about five hours before fading away, meaning it will stay bright green for the 2017 St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which steps off at 12 p.m. on the corner of Columbus Drive and Balbo before continuing north to Monroe.
Published at 11:32 AM CST on Mar 11, 2017 | Updated at 11:36 AM CST on Mar 11, 2017