Chicago’s Green River

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Cal Schneider

Last Saturday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot surprised the citizens of Chicago with their annual St Patrick’s day river dye. Every year around St Patrick’s day, Chicago dyes its river green in honor of the holiday. This tradition has been going on since 1962 when a Chicago business manager of the Chicago Journeymen Plumbers Local Union saw a plumber who was wearing white coveralls that were stained “Irish” green. This came from the fluorescein dye that they used to detect leaks and pollution in the river. The manager thought it would be a great idea to dye the river. Back then, the dye was extremely toxic to the river, but now they only use 40 pounds of environmentally friendly dye that typically gives the Chicago River its famous green color. The annual dying brings in many people from all over across the country, especially during these times; the river provides a little sense of normalcy to the citizens of Chicago. Unfortunately due to COVID-19, the also famous Chicago Riverwalk is also closed to the public to enforce social distancing guidelines. If you ever get a chance to head to Chicago, make sure to check out the green river; it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.