Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Ever see a green river?

This is what my daughter Kristin will see as she leaves her downtown condo tomorrow to go to work... the Chicago River turns GREEN! Honest!! Tomorrow!!Called the eighth wonder of the world: Dyeing the Chicago River green on the morning of every St. Patrick's Day Parade. In the 1960's, plumbers set out to determine exactly how the river was being polluted... a job that heralded the introduction of the first batch of green dye to the river. The plumbers were testing plumbing systems to see if anything was being illegally dumped into the river. They were putting a green dye into the systems of each building. If the dye ended up in the river, they'd know whose system needed an overhaul. The idea of adding massive amounts of green dye to the Chicago River on St. Patrick's Day, however, came from a plumber working on the project. What better tribute to the Emerald Isle than a bit of Irish green in the river? The first time the plumbers tried it, the people of Chicago observed the bright green water flowing by their buildings for three days. Today it's more like three hours before the green stuff dissipates naturally. The process begins at 10:45 a.m. on Columbus Drive on the morning of the Chicago parade. Men in giant white suits and masks throw an orange powder -- one of three colors, along with white and green, on the Irish flag into the river. Boats churn the water to turn it a perfect emerald green, and the current carries the color along the parade route just in time for step off at noon. The river-dyeing festivities alone attract anywhere from 30,000 to 50,000 people -- two-thirds of whom traditionally stick around and join the even bigger crowd at the parade. The dye is a secret formula but it's 100 percent safe.

MAKE THIS A GREAT DAY!!
Joni O'Possin

8 comments:

Needled Mom said...

Chicago has always been one of my favorite places to visit. My aunt and uncle lived there and St. Patty's Day was always such a highlight. Seeing the green Chicago River is a special treat. Thank you for sharing the story with the world.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

My husband used to live there and he always enjoyed how they made much of this day!

nicolette said...

I love to read about traditions, and this is a wonderful one!

I only know Chicago from TV series and films (and Oprah...!)

Rhona said...

I love that story - I'll have to ask my SIL if she's been down to see the green river (she lives in Long Grove, an hour from Chicago)

Thimbleanna said...

That's so cool Joni! I've heard about this before, but wouldn't it be fun to see it in person!

Junie Moon said...

Wow, this is so cool, I'd not heard of this before. What an amazing sight this must be.

Angie said...

How are you doing my friend?? Love the pics of my hometown. Made me a bit homesick, I have to admit! :)

Helen said...

How fabulous is that!!