Chicago decided to continue its St. Patrick’s Day tradition to dye the river green this year, fulfilling a pledge by the city in a bid to achieve some sense of normalcy during the coronavirus pandemic.
There won’t be a St. Patrick’s Day parade, and city officials issued strict guidelines about gathering in bars to celebrate. But the river will run green, officials said.
Thousands of people would normally gather to watch Plumbers Union Local 130 dye the river ahead of the holiday.
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The streets along the Chicago River are still mostly empty, but Mayor Lori Lightfoot ensured that some things will not change on one of the busiest holidays in the Windy City.
The city did not publicize the event, but residents woke up Saturday to see the river as green as a shamrock.
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The tradition started in 1962 and continued every year until 2020, when it was paused due to the pandemic, FOX 32 reported.
Small groups of people did witness the process, some even cheering the city’s surprise decision, the Chicago Tribune reported.
The first boat departed just after 7 a.m. on Saturday, leaving a trail of green.
“We’re happy that Mayor Lightfoot decided to continue with this tradition because we truly missed it last year,” Jones, 59, told the paper. “But it’s a beautiful day.”
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The Riverwalk will remain closed for the day, and anyone who turned out to witness the tradition was given a chance to take a picture before authorities asked them to leave.