'Venetian Nights' transform Chicago's Riverwalk as part of time-honored tradition

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Plans to bring back a beloved city event and transform the Chicago River into the Venetian Canal was set back by the rain Saturday night, but didn't keep people from celebrating.

The city's popular 'Venetian Nights' event has been part of a time-honored tradition dating back to 1958, modeled after the nautical parades in Venice, Italy.

Sadly, the weather didn't bring out the boats but still drew dozens to the Chicago Riverwalk to enjoy festive music and dancing.

Some restaurants along the riverwalk offered Venetian Night-themed food while lighting their venues in red, white and green.

The purpose of this year's event was to raise money for the Save Venice organization and was sponsored by the Italian American Human Relations Foundation with Honorary Chairman, Secretary of State Jesse White attending to kick off the festivities.

"I know the weather may have deterred a lot of people from coming down. This is only the beginning. This is the first year we are sponsoring it. We have plans to do this every year," said Anthony Rago with Italian American Human Relations Foundation.

"I just want to commend them, and thank them for their giving and caring spirit, and for making a difference in the lives of those in need. When you get it, you give it back," White added.
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