Chicago's 56th St. Patrick's Day Parade, hosted by the Plumbing Council of Chicagoland and the Journeymen Plumbers Local Union 130 UA, will take place on Saturday, March 12 in downtown Chicago. The parade begins at 12:00 Noon at Columbus Drive and Balbo. The parade will continue along Columbus Drive and end at Monroe Drive.
Each year, Chicago's St. Patrick's Day Parade is held the Saturday before the actual calendar date of St. Patrick's Day to allow entire families to enjoy the festivities of the parade on a day that children are not in school.
Parade spectators will have the opportunity to see the 2011 St. Patrick's Day Queen - Miss Sarah Gorecki- who was chosen from over 90 contestants to be this year's St. Patrick's Day Queen. The Queen will be joined by her Court: Miss Sara Collins, Miss Erin Mulcahy, Miss Margaret (Peg) Flisk and Miss Kelley McKenna.
Chicago's St. Patrick's Day festivities would not be complete without the dyeing of the Chicago River. The dyeing of the Chicago River will take place at 10:00 AM on Saturday, March 12, 2011 and is best viewed from the upper level bridges at Michigan Avenue or Columbus Drive. For over 40 years, the Chicago Journeymen Plumbers have been dyeing the river green for the St. Patrick's Day Parade celebration. The color of the river symbolizes the greenery of Ireland - The Emerald Isle.
The epiphany of how to dye water such a bright colored green came in 1961 when Stephen Bailey saw a plumber's white coveralls stained with a green color that originated from a dye plumbers use to detect leaks. The dye is originally an orange color, but upon interaction with water turns a bright kelly green.