St. Patrick's Day events kick off in Chicago with river dyeing, downtown parade

Timelapse: Watch Chicago River turn green

Sunday, March 17, 2024
St. Patrick's Day events kick off in Chicago
Chicago's downtown was buzzing Saturday following the green dyeing of the Chicago River and the St. Patrick's Day parade.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Chicago River was dyed emerald Saturday morning green ahead of the 69th annual St. Patrick's Day Parade.

WATCH FULL PARADE | ABC7 celebrating St. Patrick's Day in Chicago with live parade special

Thousands watched as the Chicago Journeymen Plumbers Local Union 130 poured their secret but environmentally friendly dye formula into the river. Interestingly, it begins as an orange powder and that turns green as it hits the river.

Watch as the plumbers union dyes the Chicago River green for St. Patrick's Day 2024.

The annual tradition dates back to 1962.

Massive crowds came to Chicago to celebrate St. Paddy's Day. The city was still crawling with partygoers Saturday evening. The beautiful weather brought out the masses.

"It's awesome! Lovely day outside, too," Olivia Draper said.

People lined the streets early this morning to get a glimpse of the iconic dyeing of the Chicago River.

"We saw the river, we saw the boat go by, and the river got green, so it was so exciting," Hayden Hirschhaut said.

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"It was better than I expected, it was much greener, laughs," Isaiah Norris said.

Thousands also made their way to Grant Park for the 69th annual St. Patrick's Day Parade.

"I'm having a really good time," Chandler Dukes said. "We got here pretty early."

ABC7 Eyewitness News was among the marching bands, dance groups, and local politicians, like Mayor Brandon Johnson, walking the route.

"St. Patrick's Day is an incredible display of the soul and the history of our city," Johnson said. "So it's a great day where people from all over the world come to the city of Chicago because they know it's the best city in the world."

Anywhere people went in the city, they could find a shamrock'ing good time at bars and pubs.

"The best thing ever," Rosy Arroyo said. "Born and raised in Chicago, all of us, and just enjoying the culture tremendously."

The sounds of bagpipes rang throughout the city.

"We've got great Irish music and dancing, and a whole lot of good people together," said Fr. Pat McGrath with Old St. Pat's Church.

At Old St. Pat's Church in West Loop, their "Shamrock'n the Block" party brought family fun.

"Everyone comes out for this event, just to celebrate St Patrick, our patron saint of Old Saint Pats, as well as just Chicago," Beckie O'Connor said. "We are and Irish town. Even if you're not Irish, you are today."

Saturday was an all-day celebration for Chicagoans, with festivities from morning to night.

READ MORE | Trinity Irish Dancers perform at ABC7 ahead of St. Patrick's Day

On Sunday, the fun continues with the South Side Irish Parade as well as the Northwest Side Irish Parade.