By Heather Hebson
As long as it’s green-it goes, especially if it’s Saint Patrick’s Day. Imagine the streets of Chicago surrounded by a crowd – some say as many as 400,000 people – of all green.
That’s what it was like on March 16 when people flooded downtown Chicago’s bridges to catch a glimpse of men pouring green dye into the river before the parade began at noon.
The cold, breezy city weather at the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade on S Columbus Drive along Grant Park contrasted last year’s 70-degree sunny day.
This annual event is a big holiday celebration for Chicagoans. People of all ages, Irish or not, enjoy their green beer at the Irish pubs, green Chicago River, and people parading in head-to-toe green. Patriotic green floats drive down the streets as people crowd around to share their Irish pride.
The dyeing of the Chicago River at 10 a.m. every Saturday morning of the Saint Patrick’s Day weekend has been a tradition for over 40 years. People come from all over to get their hands on a mug of green beer and share their Irish pride.
Bill Marlow, from Milwaukee, says Chicago is the place to be for this holiday.
“I’ve been coming here for the past 10 years to see the river dye and celebrate my Irish heritage,” Marlow said. “It’s a blast to be here every year.”
Even people whom aren’t Irish enjoy the excitement of wearing green attire and watching the floats pass by.
Maria Nedeau comes into the city from the suburb Bannockburn to experience the event. “I take my kids here for the parade and even though we aren’t Irish, it’s fun and my kids enjoy it,” she said. “We always visit the Chicago Bean after the parade and take pictures.” The “bean” is the public sculpture titled Cloud Gate that’s in Millennium Park.
The Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in Chicago is a hit—rain or shine. The windy Saturday morning didn’t matter; everyone was enjoying their time being Irish for the day.