Chicago turned the river green for the 51st time on March 16. Talk about dying to get in on St. Patrick's Day festivities, all laid out and ready to conquer thanks to details provided by the Second City's tourism site.
So how's the weather in this midwestern hub where revelers like to ply the green river and drink up the city's many opportunities in order to enjoy this big holiday that satisfies the Irish in all of us?
According to Google, the wind factor is at a minimum as the clock turns 6 p.m. at 10 miles per hour, the humidity is OK at 75 percent, and precipitation is only hitting 10 percent. So that leaves the actual temperature which is a nearly stinging 32 degrees. Can you say freezing?
Despite the cool weather felt outside, inside Chicago's many public establishments it is warm all over in a metropolis where green is being worn by practically everyone in honor of St. Patrick's Day. Green drinks are also being downed in various venues, and near half a million fans are kicking back and relaxing after experiencing the big parade that took place today in the Windy City.
Indeed, the annual event took off at noon on March 16, pacing itself as the entertainment headed out from Grant Park's Columbus Drive and Balbo Avenue and then going forward on Monroe Street. The entire parade route was within viewing distance of the greening of the Chicago River as it started happening in 2013 very early on Saturday morning.
By way of background, this colorful tradition was born in 1961 when the Chicago plumber's union chief Stephen Bailey was approached by another plumber who was wearing coveralls covered in paint. Green paint. Irish green paint. Bailey pressed his pal and colleague, asking how his garment happened to turn green and not another color. He found out that it was from the dye used to unearth river leaks.
And so the idea went into full river mode for St. Patrick's Day, with fluorescein dye used to enable the tradition that takes days to disappear. This is also a tradition that's still sponsored by local plumbers and their union. All listened and obeyed their leader, the late Stephen Bailey, who mentioned that the road "from Chicago to Ireland" should always be laid out in a brilliant green path.
And so, in and around the Chicago River on St. Patrick's Day weekend, visitors and locals alike enjoy the temporary green waterway running through this very cool city that's waiting for the greening of spring to be sprung very soon in this often frosty midwestern hub.