Chicago celebrates St. Patrick's Day

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago kicked off its St. Patrick's Day festivities Saturday morning with the dyeing of the Chicago River and then a downtown parade.

The river was dyed at about 9 a.m. between Columbus Drive and State Street. About 40 pounds of dye was used in the quarter-mile stretch of the river.

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About 40 pounds of dye was used to dye the Chicago River green for about a quarter-mile stretch.

Thousands of marchers and bands, horses, and a few leprechauns marched along the parade route from Balbo Drive, north on Columbus Drive to Monroe Street. The Shannon Rovers bagpipers brought a touch of Ireland to Chicago as they have for the past 92 years.

The parade ran from noon to 2 p.m.


The annual Saint Patrick's Day Mass was held at Old Saint Patrick's Church in the West Loop Saturday morning. That parish was founded by Irish immigrants more than 170 years ago.

Palatine also hosted its annual "Paint the Town Green" Saint Patrick's Day Parade Saturday. 50 groups marched in that parade and food items were collected for the needy.

Former ABC7 anchor honored at parade

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Former ABC7 anchor Joel Daly has been involved in the Chicago St. Patrick's Day Parade for 50 years.

Former ABC7 News anchor Joel Daly was named a guest of honor at the Chicago St. Patrick's Day Parade Saturday.

Daly was honored because he has been involved with the parade for 50 years.

Daly told ABC7's Liz Nagy that the people are his favorite part of the event and that he doesn't have a particular favorite memory.

"They're all good memories because everyone's having a good time on St. Patrick's Day, everyone's Irish," Daly said.

Daly rode in the parade just ahead of the ABC7 float.

Candidates use St. Patrick's Day for last-minute primaries push

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Candidates on the ballot for Tuesday's primary made a final push for votes at Saturday's St. Patrick's Day celebrations.

Political candidates were out among the St. Patrick's Day revelers Saturday in an attempt to drum up last minute support for the primaries.

"A politician prays for a crowd, and the closer to Election Day, the better," said Senator Dick Durbin.

Candidates posed for pictures with constituents and rubbed elbows with the competition.

"You'll also see candidates talking to each other, so isn't that nice they're getting along," said Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke.

Governor Bruce Rauner took the opportunity to encourage residents to vote.

"We need everybody to get out and vote, support our campaign," Rauner said. "We can win on Tuesday, we're going to beat Pritzker and Madigan in September."

Democratic gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker spent the day among supporters in Chicago.

"For me, this is about exciting our volunteers making sure they're knocking on doors, phone banking, get the word out, and of course I'm hoping everyone here will go out and vote," Pritzker said.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Daniel Biss was also in Chicago Saturday. Biss said he is looking forward to Tuesday.

"I'm feeling like there's an incredible surge happening and a wonderful opportunity for our state," Biss said.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Jeanne Ives made an appearance along Palatine's parade route.

"We'll be connecting with voters and getting ready for tomorrow and Monday, quite frankly, with media stuff," Ives said.

Democrat for governor Chris Kennedy said he is confident ahead of the vote.

"All we have to do is reject big money and politics on Tuesday," Kennedy said.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel stuck to St. Patrick's Day traditions.

"This is not only a great celebration of our history, but it's also a great celebration of the unity we can build together," Emanuel said.

Former Chicago Police Department Superintendent Garry McCarthy is reportedly planning to run against Emanuel for the mayor's office.

McCarthy told ABC7 he isn't making announcements just yet.

"We're gonna sort it out next week," McCarthy said. "Let's put it that way. Looking forward to it too."
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