I love that once a year, plumbers dye the river green.

St. Patrick’s Day is this weekend, and people will be lining up at Columbus and Wabash on Saturday morning to watch the Chicago River turn green. Yes, yes, it’s always green, but now it will be an attractive shade of green. The dye actually enters the river orange, making the process extra Irish. A small flotilla of plumbers will dump enough dye to change the color of the water for quite a distance. This started in 1961, allegedly as a way to detect a scofflaw dumping waste into the river in violation of new anti-pollution laws. The city doesn’t fund it, and this year the dyeing of the river is sponsored by WXRT and Miller Light. Plumbers Union Local 130, who runs the event, also sells T-shirts to help defray costs.

Here’s a photo from Wikipedia commons, showing the river from the Riverwalk.


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