Category Archives: Chicago Saint Patrick’s Day Parade 2012

The 64th St. Patrick’s Day 2019 in Chicago

This is a photograph of the Chicago River dyed...

Image via Wikipedia

Fluorescein in the Chicago River on the St. Pa...

Fluorescein in the Chicago River on the St. Patrick’s Day (added for celebration, rather than tracing). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Michigan Avenue Bridge across the Chicago Rive...

Michigan Avenue Bridge across the Chicago River in Chicago, Illinois (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Chicago River and Michigan Avenue bridge by ni...

Chicago River and Michigan Avenue bridge by night. On the right the new Trump Hotel towers the river, to the left the two level Wacker Drive can be seen. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is a photograph of the Chicago River dyed...

This is a photograph of the Chicago River dyed green for the St. Patrick’s Day celebration. On the left is Wacker Drive, where it changes from three to two levels. Crossing the river is Michigan Avenue’s double-decker bridge. This picture was taken from the Columbus Drive bridge. The view faces west. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Chicago river dyed green on St. Patri...

Chicago river dyed green on St. Patrick’s Day, looking east from Michigan Avenue bridge. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Everyone is Irish on Saint Patrick‘s Day. Saint Patrick’s Day has been observed for more than 1000 years. It is observed on March 17th, the date of Patrick’s death. He is generally recognized as the patron saint of Ireland. Legend credits St. Patrick with banishing snakes from the island and chasing them into the sea.

Chicago River is dyed Green for Saint Patrick’s Day

For a city that was run by the Daley Dynasty for most of my lifetime, you have to understand the importance of the Parade to the residents of Chicago. It is so important, that we have two annual St. Patrick’s Day parades in Chicago.

From Monday, March 11 through Sunday, March 17, iconic buildings, monuments and streets in the City of Chicago will light up green.

Our city is home to quite the St. Patrick’s Day celebration! The Chicago River goes green between Columbus and Wacker drives. Then we have a parade on Columbus Drive with floats, Irish Dancers and bagpipes. The Parade starts at  Grant Park (Columbus & Balbo).

River Dyeing

For over 40 years, the Chicago Journeymen Plumbers Union has turned the Chicago River GREEN in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. Come and see the river turn a breathtaking green that is identical to the greens of Ireland from where it got its name “The Emerald Isle.” The dyeing of the Chicago River begins at 9am the day of the Parade, Saturday, March 16, 2019. The best place to see the river GREENing is the intersection of Michigan Ave, Wacker Drive and the river.



The Downtown Chicago Parade begins at noon on Saturday, March 16. The parade will start at Balbo and Columbus. It will proceed north on Columbus Drive and the viewing stand will be located in front of Buckingham Fountain. If you can’t attend, watch the Parade as it is broadcasted LIVE this year by ABC-Channel 7.


After the big parade on Saturday, March 16, enjoy this family-oriented celebration filled with Irish music, dance, food, activities, and Irish gifts for sale at the St. Patrick’s Festival at the Irish American Heritage Center.


An old favorite returns to Chicago’s South Side with a focus on family and Irish heritage. The Beverly neighborhood parade steps off at noon on Sunday, March 17 from 103rd Street and proceeds down Western Avenue to 115th Street. Line the route with 150,000 fellow revelers to watch the bands, dance troupes and parade.


The Northwest Side Irish Parade starts at 12:00 noon on Sunday, March 17.  The parade winds through the Norwood Park neighborhood, beginning at William J. Onahan School, running south on Neola Avenue to Northwest Highway, then heading north on Northwest Highway up to Harlem Avenue. Enjoy this fun-filled community event that celebrates faith, family and Irish heritage.


Run by Team Ortho, the Get Lucky 7K and 14K half marathon races all start east of the Soldier Field South Lot on the Lake Front Path. Runners are encouraged to wear their luckiest green gear and enjoy this early season race! The date is March 17th, 2018.


The Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle is one of Chicago’s best running celebrations! The Chicago tradition continues the St. Patrick’s Day celebration and kicks off the spring running season in Chicago on Sunday, March 24.


We dye the Chicago River Mayor Daley Green: everyone wears green, our fountains spew green water and we drink green beer.  Join about 400,000 Irish fans to see the green river.

Go to:

  • The East side of the Michigan Avenue Bridge
  • The West side of the Columbus Drive Bridge
  • Meander along the banks of the Chicago RiverWalk between Michigan Avenue and Columbus Drive.


Chicago’s Green Fountain for St. Patrick’s Day

We always crown a queen.  The St. Patrick’s Day Queen and her Court ride a majestic float the day of the parade.

This interesting tradition of  “the dyeing of the Chicago River a nearly radioactive looking Kelly green” has been around for 56 years. Here’s what happened:

“A couple of plumbers discovered the orange dye they used to detect leaks and illegal discharges of sewage into the Chicago River turned the water that Irish Kelly Green. They told the Chicago Journeymen Plumbers Local 110 business manager Stephen Bailey, who then asked around and ultimately received permission to try and dye the river green.” Today, the Chicago Journeymen Plumbers Local Union 130 dyes the river.

“The Plumbers Local union is charged with dyeing the river green every year. They first used 100 pounds of the vegetable dye, which kept the river green for about a week. Today, 40 pounds of vegetable dye is mixed into the river using motorboats, which is enough to keep the river a Shamrock green for about four-to-five hours, after which the river reverts back to its murky, polluted green.”

WHERE: Columbus Drive from Balboa to Monroe

Chicago St. Patrick's Day Parade

The annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade is a spectacular event attended by thousands of people and features a colorful array of floats. The parade proceeds north on Columbus Drive and ends up in front of Buckingham Fountain where the viewing stand awaits.  Everyone is encouraged to wear green to engender the luck of the Irish.

There’s plenty of parties at local bars after the parade. Here are some other interesting events that you may want to attend:

Forever Green Celebration with Young Irish Fellowship Club of Chicago

Forever Green is the largest St. Patrick’s Day party in Chicago and celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2015! Join the fun with live bands, a silent auction, bagpipers, Irish dancers, a fiddle-off, and appearances by the Chicago Rose of Tralee, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade Queen, and South Side Irish Parade Queen. Ages 21 and up only

Ireland: Crossroads of Art and Design, 1690–1840

  • Location: Art Institute of Chicago (111 S. Michigan Ave.)
  • Tickets: Included in museum admission (from $14-23, children 14 and under free)
One of Chicago’s premier cultural institutions, the Art Institute of Chicago will kick off its newest exhibition “Ireland: Crossroads of Art and Design, 1690-1840” with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on St. Patrick’s Day including a bagpiper!

Everyone is Irish on Saint Patrick’s Day in Chicago

About a  week after the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the city will host the Chicago’s Shamrock Shuffle. This 8K race  kicks off the city’s running and racing season.

This is a photograph of the Chicago River dyed...

This is a photograph of the Chicago River dyed green for the St. Patrick’s Day celebration. On the left is Wacker Drive, where it changes from three to two levels. Crossing the river is Michigan Avenue’s double-decker bridge. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides @

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Filed under Chicago, Chicago Saint Patrick's Day Parade 2012, Dye the Chicago River Green for St. Patrick's Day, Happy Saint Patick's Day 2014 in Chicago