Chicago, Illinois, celebrates the Irish holiday of Saint Patrick's Day in a big way. The celebration on Saturday, March 16, 2013, included the unique Chicago tradition of dyeing the Chicago emerald green and the giant St. Patrick's Day parade. ABC 7 Chicago covered the festivities, including the parade led by local dignitaries.
The dignitaries marching in the Irish parade included Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Governor Pat Quinn, Senator Dick Durbin and Olympic Gold Medalist Conor Dwyer. The Grand Marshal of the 2013 parade was Notre Dame's head football coach Brian Kelly, who led the Fighting Irish to an undefeated regular season.
St. Patrick's Day is on Sunday, March 17, but Chicago traditionally throws the big Irish celebration on the Saturday before the holiday celebrating St. Paddy.
Chicago's celebration is unique because the famed Chicago River is dyed emerald green with the help of orange vegetable dye, before the grand parade. That's right, the dye that turns the river green is actually orange.
The Chicago Plumber's Union and Antioch party bar Blarney Island help the magical leprechauns dye the river for a festive start to the weekend. The dyeing of the Chicago River, which winds through the city, has been a tradition for 43 years.
After the Chicago River was turned into an emerald green ribbon of color through the Windy City, the St. Patrick's Day Parade could begin. Even though the weather was cold, thousands of people turned up to watch the Shannon Rovers bagpipers, leprechauns, floats, Irish dancers, marching bands and marching politicians that make this one of Chicago's most popular and celebrated events.
Chicago celebrates Saint Patrick's Day with green river and parade with pictures from 2012