Greening of river, St. Pat's parade Saturday

March 17, 2012 10:11:14 AM PDT
The St. Patrick's Day parade steps off Saturday in downtown Chicago, but people were already putting their Irish heritage on display the day before.

With the day falling on a Saturday along with unseasonably warm weather crowds at this weekend's St. Patrick's Day downtown parade are expected to be big.

At some places around Chicago, it already looks and feels like St. Patrick's Day.

"We've been coming down here for the last 45 years," said Joanne Brady.

For the Brady family, getting together the day before the biggest Irish celebration of the year has become a tradition.

"We do it every, almost every year, we try to get back down here," said Joe Brady.

At Butch McGuire's, where preps for the holiday are already under way, leaving Howard Barnard, who is in town from Kansas City to visit his grandson, wondering what else he should expect.

"Well, after seeing the fugitive, I believe I know the river's going to be green and there's going to be a parade," said Barnard.

And while the Division Street pub remains a well known hangout, on St. Patty's Day, it will be not only be their busiest day of the year but also the day the business celebrates its 50th anniversary here in Chicago.

"We really come out for St. Patrick's Day in Chicago, and it's a great tradition," said Bobby McGuire, Butch McGuire's. "It's a lot of fun. People are always in a good celebratory mood."

Like in year's past, the event will feature irish dancers, bag pipers, and marching bands. Ireland's prime minister is also marching in this year's parade. He's in town this week to promote tourism between Chicago and Ireland before heading to Washington D.C. to meet with President Obama.

"On St. Patrick's Day, to lead the parade, I'm really looking forward to that," said Enda Kenny, Ireland's prime minister. "And it's a beautiful spring morning in Chicago by Lake Michigan, wonderful city with the great tradition."

For a 15th year, Bruegger's Bagel's in Oak Park is celebrating with green bagels.

"At first the guests look at it a little strange, but once they give it a try, sample it, they get on board," said Geno Hunter, Bruegger's Bagels.

And that's just want Sarah O'Neill and her girls did.

"Anything we can celebrate with St. Patrick's Day we do. Any store that has anything green, we've got to grab it," she said.

The dyeing of the Chicago River will take place at 10 a.m.. Later, thousands are expected to attend the city's St. Patrick's Day parade again this year. It steps off Saturday at noon at Columbus and Balbo.

If you miss the parade, you can watch the broadcast of it on ABC7 Saturday night at 11:30 p.m. Video of ABC7's broadcast will also be available on-demand Sunday afternoon here on