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Saturday's St. Patrick's Day parade, river dyeing

Police to crack down on drunk driving
November 15, 2009 3:38:20 PM PST
Thousands of people were expected to take place in Chicago's St. Patrick's Day celebrations over the weekend. The city hosted two parades over the weekend, both which are available on-demand on www.ABC7Chicago.com.

St. Patrick's Day wasn't until Tuesday, but celebrations were already in full swing. On Friday night, hundreds of dancers kicked up their heels at Irish Dance Chicago, one of many events that is taking place at the Irish American Heritage Center.

Dozens of people shaved their heads for the St. Baldrick's Foundation, raising money for childhood cancer research.

Also, the ponds at Garfield Conservatory were dyed an emerald green.

The Chicago River also turned green Saturday morning. For more than 40 years, the Journeymen Plumbers have been dying the river the color that symbolizes the greenery of Ireland, the so-called Emerald Isle. As usual, crowds watched as the plumbers in boats dropped dye into the water. The dye is actually an orange color, but it quickly turns the river into a bright kelly green.

In another tradition of the holiday, a civic mass was offered in Old St. Pat's church. It helped kick-off Saturday's parade. Bishop Timothy Lyne, who's been a priest for 65 years, celebrated the mass. Guests included the St. Pat's parade queen and her court. The church's concert choir was among the performers.

Old St. Pat's, which was founded in 1846, is listed in the national register of historic places, and is the oldest public building in Chicago.

Finally, people across the Chicagoland area are celebrating at Irish pubs. The Chicago Police Department warns minors to stay away from alcohol. They'll also be cracking down on drunk drivers and drinking on public streets.

"You cannot drink on city streets. In your home fine, in a liquor establishment fine, but that's not acceptable, it's against the law and will be strictly enforced," said Assistant Supt. James Jackson, Chicago Police Dept.


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